New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Scientists and Science Teachers Working Together: the Research Experiences for Teachers as Professional Development

Claudia Lupi, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia (Italy)

Alessia Cicconi, School of Sciences and Technology, University of Camerino (Italy)

Katz Cooper S., Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University (United States)

Eleonora Paris, School of Sciences and Technology, University of Camerino (Italy)


In the last several decades, the majority of OECD Countries experienced a decreasing of students enrolling the so-called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) faculties. This problem has been tentatively addressed by reforming the Science Education in the secondary school and improving the Science teachers’ proficiency offering a wider selection of professional development. The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) is considered a kind professional development where teachers are immersed in research activities, doing Science with scientists as a scientist and exploring all the stages of the inquiry process. RET programs have been in existence for more than 20 years in the USA but, basically, do not exist in Italy. Even in the new document from the Ministry about the professional development of Italian Teachers, there is no mention of such programs. However, the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) offer, to teachers from all the partners Countries including Italy, two kind of professional development. These consortia provide: 1) School of Rock, a training course for teachers based on data from the drilling expeditions, and 2) the opportunity to sail in an IODP expedition as Education and Outreach Officer, working alongside scientists. The authors were involved in the IODP Expedition 367 on board the ship “JOIDES Resolution” as Education and Outreach Officer (A.C.) and as scientist (C.L.). During the two months expedition they organized 40 video connections from the ship with Italian schools touching around 1500 students. In every broadcast, the students were able to see the ship, the labs and interact with the scientists on board. In this study, we analyze, using a qualitative approach, the strength of the relationship between teachers and researchers and the outcomes of the program in terms of 1) improved teacher proficiency; 2) Involvement of other teachers; 3) enhancement of students’ motivation in Science. The effectiveness of this program is also demonstrated by the fact that the authors are in the process to organize the next edition of ECORD School of Rock in Italy under the sponsorship of IODP – Italia.

Keywords: Research Experiences for Teacher (RET), Outreach, International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD);


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