Title page for ETD etd-05242006-120918

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Grosshans, Kurt
URN etd-05242006-120918
Title Science Teachers' Understanding and Use of Instructional Strategies Within the 4 x 4 Block Schedule
Degree Doctor of Education
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Doolittle, Peter E. Committee Co-Chair
Glasson, George E. Committee Co-Chair
Brand, Brenda R. Committee Member
Burge, Penny L. Committee Member
Magliaro, Susan G. Committee Member
  • 4 x 4 block schedule
  • teacher beliefs
  • strategies
  • science education
Date of Defense 2006-05-01
Availability unrestricted
The primary purpose of this research was to investigate how science teachers engaged students under the 4 x 4 block schedule and how the teachers’ understanding of how they used instructional strategies influenced their lessons. As an inquiry-based approach has been adopted by the National Science Standards, research has suggested that block scheduling provides more time for teachers to incorporate varied teaching strategies such as inquiry-based teaching. This research investigated the questions: What instructional strategies do science teachers use to engage students on the 4 x 4 block schedule? How do science teachers understand their use of instructional strategies?

The methodology was qualitative in nature and involved a multiple case study of three high school science teachers at a large rural county high school. Data sources included pre-observation interviews, classroom observations, post-observation interviews, and the collection of documents and artifacts such as lesson plans, student hand-outs, worksheets, laboratory exercises, homework and other document(s) the teacher used to prepare for or implement a lesson.

The evidence observed in this study, suggests that the strategies used by these three science teachers remain mostly didactic in nature. Although the teachers reported in the interview phase that they use a wide variety of strategies, what was observed within the 4 x 4 block structure was the use of didactic strategies, not different strategies. Although the teachers were aware of more holistic strategies, such as inquiry-based and cooperative learning, they were not adopted nor adapted within the lesson.

The three teachers used strategies that were consistent with their scientific realist views concerning the nature of science. These scientific realist philosophies are antithetical to a social constructivist approach to teaching and learning, which is what the National Research Council suggests science teachers adopt.

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