Theses Doctoral

Establishing a Community of Practice Between an Elementary Educator and a Scientist as a Means of Professional Development

Dashoush, Nermeen

This dissertation reports on an ethnographic study to examine and detail emerging practices in a community of practice comprised of an elementary teacher and a scientist (microbiologist). The study was conducted in order to design a model for professional development. It also aimed to contribute to the limited research involving elementary educators and their work with scientists. Furthermore, extra attention was given to understanding how both the elementary teacher and the scientist benefitted from their participation in the community of practice created from working together in teaching and learning science as a form of professional development. This was in accordance with a community of practice framework, which details that a healthy community is one without a perception of hierarchy among members (Wenger, 1998).
The elementary teacher and scientist as participants collaborated in the creation of a science unit for an afterschool program. A wide variety of data was collected, including: interviews, transcribed meetings, and online journals from both participants. The data was coded for reoccurring themes surrounding practices and shifts in perception about science teaching and learning that emerged from this community of practice as professional development. The findings have implications for practices that could be used as a foundational structure in future collaborations involving elementary teachers and scientists for elementary science professional development.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felicia
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 14, 2015