Professional development as a strategy for curriculum implementation in multidisciplinary science education

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Schoolteachers must deal with curriculum innovations during their teaching careers. In 2005, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science introduced committees to develop and redesign the curricula for chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics in secondary education. The purpose of redesigning the curricula was to increase the attractiveness of science education and attract more students for science studies,, which is consistent with the Government's efforts to strengthen the Dutch knowledge-based economy. Another important motive was to increase the coherence between the traditional science subjects. In addition, a national steering committee was installed in 2006 with the task of devleoping a new multidisciplinary subject 'Nature, Life, and Tecnology (NLT)', also known as Advanced Science, Mathematics, and Techology (ASMaT). NLT was introduced into the science curriculum of the upper level of secondary education in August 2007. NLT is an optional science subject, in which the curriculum is contextually based and has a modular structure. At the school and class level, the implementation of NLT has specific features such as Teachers from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physical geography cooperate in a multidisciplinary team; students are not obliged to take biology, physics or geography. The specific features of NLT mean that it has the nature of a curriculum innovation. Tis dissertation was inspired by design-based research, with the following general research question: 'What is the effectiveness of a professional development programme as a strategy for improving the implementation of a multidisciplinary science curriculum? ' The general question is addressed by three sub-studies. Sub-study one, describes the essential characteristics for a professional development programme that promotes the acquisition of teacher competences required for the implementation of a multidisciplinary science module. Sub-study two, describes the design of a generic model for a professional developmnent programme to prepare and assist teachers for a multidisciplinary science module. The generic model is translated into a programme suitable for the specific NLT module, called 'The hydrogen car'. In sub-study three, the implemented professional development programme is evaluated. This dissertation ends with design principles comprising heuristics that can inform future efforts at designing a professional development programme.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Pieters, Jules M., Supervisor
  • Terlouw, C., Co-Supervisor
  • Coenders, Fer G.M., Co-Supervisor
Award date25 Oct 2012
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs9789036534055
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2012

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