Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology
Dr. Lisa Martin-Hansen - Chair
Dr. Christine Thomas
Dr. Mike Dias
Dr. Geeta Verma
Professional development for educators has been defined as the process or processes by which teachers achieve higher levels of professional competence and expand their understanding of self, role, context and career (Duke and Stiggins, 1990). Currently, there is limited research literature that examines the effect a professional development course, which uses David Kolb’s experiential learning model, has on the professional growth and teaching practice of middle school science teachers. The purpose of this interpretive case study is to investigate how three science teachers who participated in the Rivers to Reef professional development course interpreted the learning experience and integrated the experience into their teaching practice. The questions guiding this research are 1. What is the relationship between a professional development course that uses an experiential learning model and science teaching practice? 2. How do the Rivers to Reef participants reflect on and describe the course as a professional growth experience? The creation of the professional development course and the framework for the study were established using David Kolb’s (1975) experiential learning theory and the reflection process model designed by David Boud (1985). The participants in the study are three middle school science teachers from schools representing varied settings and socioeconomic levels in the southeastern United States. Data collected used the three-interview series interview format designed by Dolbere and Schuman (Seidman, 1998). Data was analyzed for the identification of common categories related to impact on science teaching practice and professional growth. The major finding of this study indicates the years of teaching experience of middle school science teachers significantly influences how they approach professional development, what and how they learn from the experience, and the ways in which the experience influences their teaching practices.
Davis, Brian, "Investigating the Experience: A Case Study of a Science Professional Development Program Based on Kolb's Experiential Learning Model" (2008). Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology Dissertations. Paper 33.