Date of Award:

12-2021

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Colby Tofel-Grehl

Committee

Colby Tofel-Grehl

Committee

Kristin Searle

Committee

Kimberly Lott

Abstract

Scientific misconceptions held by educators are both common and well documented. As science education becomes more and more important to students, it is evident that there is a need to not only identify scientific misconceptions held by teachers as a means of bettering the education of students, but also determine effective methods of deconstructing them. Although studies have indicated that professional development can assuage the prevalence of misconceptions held by teachers, there is a dearth in the literature of what makes these professional developments effective. Therefore, this study investigated which models of professional development are most effective in dismantling misconceptions commonly held by teachers. To do this, I collected both qualitative and quantitative data from existing papers regarding misconceptions and professional development. I found that both elementary and secondary teachers benefit in terms of bettering their understanding of misconceptions from both learning science content and learning about teaching in equal amounts. This is surprising because it means that secondary science teachers also need more content training, despite having much more science training than elementary school teachers have. Therefore, the implications of this study are that secondary and elementary school teachers need to be offered more content focused professional developments in order to address their own misconceptions and address misconceptions in their classrooms.

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