You are on page 1of 27




Received: 11 February 2008; Accepted: 30 September 2008

ABSTRACT. Learning and effective teaching are both complicated acts. However,
many administrators, teachers, parents, and policymakers appear not to recognize those
complexities and their significance for practice. Fueling this perception, recommendations from isolated research findings often neglect the complexities in learning and
teaching, and when implemented in classrooms often fall well short of the advertised
effect. Consequently, education research is generally ignored, and the resulting
research-practice gap raises concerns regarding the utility of university-based teacher
education, and education research more generally. However, the strength of education
research resides in the synergy resulting from its integration into a unifying system that
guides, but does not determine, decision-making. Dewey (1929) argued for teacher
decision-making guided by education research, but recently several writers have justly
criticized education researchers for not providing comprehensible assistance to
educators and policymakers (Good, 2007; Shymansky, 2006; Windschitl, 2005). This
paper proposes a decision-making framework for teaching to help beginning and
experienced teachers make sense of education research, come to understand crucial
teacher decisions, and how those decisions interact to affect student learning. The
proposed decision-making framework for teaching has significant utility in the design of
science methods courses, science teacher education programs, effective student teacher
supervision experiences, and professional development workshops.
KEY WORDS: decision-making framework, research synthesis, teacher decision-making,
teacher development, teacher education

Learning and effective teaching are both highly complex acts. Leinhardt &
Greeno (1986, p. 75) write that, the task of teaching occurs in a relatively
ill-structured, dynamic environment. Classroom conditions change in
unpredictable ways, and information arises during the act of teaching that
by necessity must inform performance as it occurs. Reflecting these
complexities, classroom teachers make hundreds of non-trivial decisions
each day working with children (Good & Brophy, 1994; Jackson, 1990;
MacKay & Marland, 1978). However, the general public, policymakers,
and even many teachers appear not to recognize these complexities. This is
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education (2008)
# National Science Council, Taiwan 2008


evident in widely held beliefs such as: (1) command of subject matter is
sufficient for effective teaching; (2) effective pedagogical practices develop
naturally through teaching experience; (3) teaching is simply a matter of
personal style; and (4) teaching is essentially the passing of information
from teacher to students. These beliefs manifest themselves in shallow
traditional and alternative teacher licensure programs, back-to-basics fads,
high-stakes testing that reflects trivial knowledge, and simplistic businessmodel approaches to education.
Apparently teacher educators and teachers have poorly communicated
the intricacies of effective teaching to key stakeholders. Fullan (1996)
argued that one of the main reasons that teachers seem to be constantly
defending themselves from external critics is that they cannot explain
themselves adequately. He writes that:
Critics are increasingly using clear language and specific examples in their charges, while
educators are responding with philosophical rationales (e.g., we are engaged in active
learning). Abstract responses to specific complaints are not credible. What does it mean
to say that educators cannot explain themselves adequately? Perhaps teachers do not fully
understand what they are doing, or perhaps they are simply unable to articulate it. (p. 423)

The capacious and enduring research-practice gap in teaching reflects

complex tensions and dilemmas (Anderson, 2002; Windschitl, 2002)
within and between conceptual, pedagogical, cultural and political realms.
However, this alone is an insufficient explanation as tensions and
dilemmas exist in many fields where the disparity between research and
practice is less pronounced. To make matters worse, oftentimes, the most
vocal critics of education research are teachers themselves! That large
numbers of teachers dont see the value of education research raises
questions regarding what goes on in teacher education programs. Perhaps
as Berliner (1985) suggests, because teacher educators come from the
ranks of teaching they:
. . . see themselves as practical people, hired from or strongly identified with the world of
practice. They believe in experience and apprenticeship as the major ways of learning to
teach. This commitment has resulted in timidity about reading, critiquing, or using the
scientific literature about teaching. (p. 130)


Clough (2003a) argues that the utility of education research is either
muted or insignificant for understanding learning and teaching, unless it is


collected into a coherent wholeinto a research-based framework (RBF)

for teaching science. He writes:
The research-practice gap exists to a large extent because, beginning in their teacher
preparation programs, teachers quickly find that recommendations from isolated research
findings have little or no effect in their classrooms. The linear thinking of elementary and
secondary preservice science teacher education students is illustrated in their believing
that the value of multiple behaviors and strategies is that if one doesnt work, then they
have others to try (Clough & Olson, 2003; Olson, 2007). (p. 16)

The concerns raised by Clough (2003a) echo those of Dewey (1929) who
cautioned educators to resist the urge to apply solitary strategies derived
from scientific research (For Dewey, reference to science meant
systematic study) to solve education issues:
The human desire to prove that the scientific mode of attack is really of value brings
pressure to convert scientific conclusions into rules and standards of schoolroom practice
(p. 18). However, No conclusion of scientific research can be converted into an
immediate rule of educational art. For there is no educational practice whatever which is
not highly complex; that is to say, which does not contain many other conditions and
factors than are included in the scientific finding (p. 19). The significance of one factor
for educational practice can be determined only as it is balanced with many other factors
(p. 19, italics added).

The caution voiced by Dewey is, unfortunately, often used by

practitioners to dismiss education research. Such rejections are typically
accompanied by statements such as, That wont work in my classroom
because that research was done with (urban children, a different science
topic, older students, etc.). Dewey, anticipating such concerns, wrote,
Nevertheless, scientific findings are of practical utility, and the situation
is wrongly interpreted when it is used to disparage the value of science in
the art of education. What it militates against is the transformation of
scientific findings into rules of action (p. 19). Eighty years ago, Dewey
wrestled with the relatively new field of educational research and its role
in practice. Even then, he recognized that isolated research findings
converted to practical classroom strategies could result in practices that
contradict other research implications, are ill-suited for particular
students, or are simply ineffective. His desire for a research base for
educational practice was premised upon the need for research to be
brought together into a systematic whole. In addition, that whole was not
to become a list of prescriptions for practice, but a mindset through which
a practitioner could better observe, interpret, and judge unfolding
classroom events.


Each investigation and conclusion is special, but the tendency of an increasing number
and variety of specialized results is to create new points of view and a wider field of
observation. Various special findings have a cumulative effect; they reinforce and extend
one another, and in time lead to the detection of principles that bind together a number of
facts that are diverse and even isolated in their prima facie occurrence. Facts which are
so interrelated form a system, a science. The practitioner who knows the system and its
laws is evidently in possession of a powerful instrument for observing and interpreting
what goes on before him. This intellectual tool affects his attitudes and modes of response
in what he does. Because the range of understanding is deepened and widened, he can
take into account remote consequences which were originally hidden from view and hence
were ignored in his actions. Greater continuity is introduced; he does not isolate situations
and deal with them in separation as he was compelled to do when ignorant of connecting
principles. At the same time, his practical dealings become more flexible. Seeing more
relations, he sees more possibilities, more opportunities. He is emancipated from the need
of following precedents. His ability to judge being enriched, he has a wider range of
alternatives to select from in dealing with individual situations. (pp. 2021)


Efforts to summarize and apply education research have included lists of
instructional strategies linked to student learning (e.g., Marzano, Gaddy &
Dean, 2000), literature reviews targeting a particular area of research
(e.g., Balzer, Evans & Blosser, 1973), and collections of literature reviews
appearing as chapters in large handbooks devoted to particular fields in
education (e.g., Abell & Lederman, 2007; Gabel, 1994; Richardson,
2001; Sikula, 1996; Springer, 2008). The topical summaries appearing in
literature reviews and handbooks, while important to researchers, do little
to bring coherence to the field of education or provide a framework that
might help teachers, administrators, parents, and policymakers understand
the complex interplay between research findings. Perhaps that is not the
intent of these mammoth undertakings, but the omission reflects and
exacerbates the research-practice gap.
A more serious threat to understanding the complexity of learning and
teaching, and considering the many synergistic variables excluded in
research findings, is the prescription of isolated research-based instructional strategies. For instance, in What Works in Classroom Instruction
(Marzano et al., 2000), the authors, using results from meta-analysis,
provide a list of nine instructional strategies that have the highest
probability of enhancing student achievement for all students in all
subject areas at all grade levels (p. 4). This reflects the once popular, but
highly criticized, approach to education advocated by Madeline Hunter
two decades ago (Berg & Clough, 1991a, b), and perpetuates the isolated


prescriptive strategy approach to education practice that Dewey criticized

almost 80 years ago.
A notable attempt to summarize research and create a framework for
implementing practices consistent with that research is found in How
People Learn (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000). The authors
acknowledge that there is no universal best teaching practice (p. 22)
and that research findings do not tell us what to do in all situations, but
instead become a rich set of opportunities from which a teacher
constructs an instructional program rather than a chaos of competing
alternatives (p. 23). Their framework clearly describes principles and
congruent strategies, but falls short of being a powerful decision-making
model readily useable by practitioners and researchers. The central
problem is that the crucial role of the teacher is missing, and how to use
the advocated principles as a lens to make decisions is not clear. They
depict a Venn diagram consisting of three intersecting circlesLearnercentered environments, Knowledge-centered environments, and Assessment-centered environmentsall existing in a larger circle of
Community-centered environments. The focus on four distinct, yet
slightly overlapping environments pushes the focus toward the
appearance of the classroom rather than the teacher decision-making
process that is necessary to make those environments a reality. The
question remains, what decisions must be considered to create these
environments? A framework useful to practitioners should clearly
articulate factors that teachers must consider and explicitly relate those
factors to desired ends and how students learn.


Teacher education is often criticized for being too theoretical and
separated from practice (Kagan, 1992). Preservice and inservice teacher
education is the very place where the research-practice gap is supposed to
be bridged. Ideally, in these settings, teacher educators work with
prospective and experienced teachers to help them understand how the
research base can be used to inform practice. These efforts should be
devoted to developing and supporting habits of planning, classroom
observation, analysis, decision-making, and reflection informed by
relevant research. Helping teachers make sense of the education research
base and bring some rationality to decision-making is essential for
diminishing the research-practice gap.


Recent efforts that place primacy on randomized control group

experiments [as] the only form of viable evidence from which decisions
can be made (Windschitl, 2005, p. 531), or simplistic lists of what
works in classroom practice have done little more than create a
confusing array of prescriptive strategies and recommendations that are
not linked to one another in a meaningful fashion. Such efforts ignore
Deweys warning almost one century ago, and eschew the complexities of
learning, teaching, and rational decision-making in favor of magic bullets
to cure our education ills.
Rather than prescriptive strategies, a framework that makes teacher
decision-making a central feature, while explicitly addressing those
decisions and how they interact would do much to help educators
understand synergistic relationships and aid in making sense of the
dizzying array of research findings. It would make clear that teachers are
decision-makers in complex dynamic environments, and would value
education research as a coherent whole. Such a framework would
articulate factors of classroom life that must be considered simultaneously
when making informed decisions.


What are some of the non-trivial decisions that teachers need to
understand; how do these decisions interact with one another; and how
can teachers be helped to understand these decisions and their
complexities? Understandably, foremost in teachers minds is having
something for students to do, preferably a task that students find
interesting and will complete with little resistance (Appleton, 2006).
The very real need to have something for students to do often interferes
with teachers thinking about the goals they have for students and how
people learn. Duschl & Gitomer (1997, p. 65) noted that teachers see
teaching as dominated by tasks and activities rather than conceptual
structures and scientific reasoning. However, while teachers may focus
on tasks and activities, in making those decisions they have also tacitly,
and often unknowingly, made decisions regarding the developmental
appropriateness of content (Bransford et al., 2000) and materials (Olson &
Clough, 2001). Decisions regarding what science content to teach and
tasks and materials that will help students make desired meaning are
interrelated and should be thoughtfully made in light of desired goals for
students and how people learn.


Ensuring that students classroom experiences are aligned with how

people learn and desired goals also demands that teachers explicitly
consider decisions regarding teaching models and strategies. Teaching
models that reflect how students learn and promote desired goals include,
but are not limited to, the learning cycle (Karplus, 1977; Schneider &
Renner, 1980), the generative learning model (Osborne & Freyberg,
1985), the 5-E model (Bybee, 1997), search, solve, create, and share
(Pizzini, Shepardson, Abell, 1989), and the science writing heuristic
(Keys, Hand, Prain & Sellers, 1999). Teaching strategies like Predictobserve-explain (POE), think-pair-share (TPS), and the HRASE questioning strategy (Penick, Crow & Bonnstetter, 1996) should be chosen in
concert with other teacher decisions for optimal impact on student
learning. However, even if content, tasks, materials, teaching models and
strategies are wisely chosen, desired ends are severely curtailed or
thwarted without appropriate teacher interaction with students.
While interesting and developmentally appropriate content, tasks, and
materials spark students curiosity and set a stage for learning, what
teachers do during those tasks is crucial. Effective teaching is a highly
interactive activity, but too often teachers have only vague ideas about
how to create and maintain that kind of environment (Gallimore & Tharp,
1990). Several research-based teacher behaviors implemented in concert
are needed to establish meaningful interactive environments to help
students make desired connections. The questions teachers ask, the waittime I & II they provide, the non-verbal behaviors they exhibit, and how
they respond to students ideas together have an enormous impact on the
classroom environment, determining what students think, and helping
students make desired connections (Clough, 2002, 2003a; Southerland,
Kittleson, Settlage & Lanier, 2005). Yet teachers are largely unaware of
their personal behaviors while teaching and the impact they have on
students. For instance, teachers can, and often unknowingly do, convey
the message that they do not value students ideas in a number of ways
by the kinds of questions they ask, the little time they provide students to
think and formulate answers, their unintentional negative body language,
ignoring unwanted student responses, and only acknowledging or using
desired answers.
All the above teacher decisions interact with one another to create the
learning environment. Moreover, teacher decision-making should reflect
an incessant feedback loopthat is, content, tasks, materials, models and
strategies, along with critical teacher behaviors and interaction patters are
selected to move students forward while also assessing their thinking so
that more-informed decisions may be made. However, Duschl & Gitomer


(1997, p. 65) noted that teachers are not used to using student
information to guide and revise instructional decision-making.
Figure 1 provides an overarching visual representation to help preservice
and inservice science teachers conceptualize these many teacher decisions, and understand their importance and interactions. First generated
by Clough & Berg in 1988, the Decision-Making Framework has since
undergone several iterations (Berg & Clough, 1991b; Clough, 1992;
Student Goals
consistent with

Student Actions
selected to promote

informs decisions regarding

Key Synergetic Teacher Decisions

Selection of teacher
behaviors &
interaction patterns

Selection of teaching
strategies & teaching

selected to understand

Selection of content,
tasks, activities &

informs decisions regarding

The Learner
Students Thinking
Students Self-efficacy
Students Prior Knowledge
Students Developmental Differences
Students Zone of Proximal Development

Figure 1. Framework illustrating teacher decisions and their interactions


Clough & Berg, 1995; Clough & Kauffman, 1999; Clough, 2003a;
Clough & Berg, 2006) leading to what is presented here. The DecisionMaking Framework makes explicit the crucial and incessant role of
assessment in teacher decision-making. While the Decision-Making
Framework certainly does not capture all that goes into learning and
teaching, it must be seen in its purpose of assisting novice and
experienced teachers to make sense of the complex decisions they often
unknowingly make moment to moment in the classroom.
Understandably, attention immediately is drawn to the broad categories. However, of greater importance are the arrows conveying the
importance of teacher decisions and their interactions. The overarching
intent of the Decision-Making Framework is to illustrate that all teacher
decisions regarding science content, tasks, activities, materials, models,
strategies, and teacher behaviors should be made in light of desired goals
for students and how students learn. In making explicit key teacher
decisions and their interactions, the framework has many uses.
Illustrating How Pedagogical Research Best Informs Practice When
it Comes as a Coherent Package
All beginning teachers and many experienced teachers struggle to
understand how all the decisions displayed in the Framework coalesce
to define the educational process. Attention is easily drawn to the more
discernible polar extremes of more obvious decisions, rather than to
subtlety, interaction, and complexity. The problem is magnified with
novices who, lacking automated routines for many teaching tasks, quickly
find their working memory overwhelmed. In wrestling with the
complexities of learning and teaching and the cognitive overload that
often results, teachers thinking becomes piecemeal and black-or-white in
nature. Teachers tend to view suggested ideas as either working or not
working, and often fail to see how the success of a changed practice
depends upon the simultaneous effective use of myriad other practices.
Many experienced teachers face the same problem but for different
The following example illustrates the complex and subtle interplay of
decisions and teaching practices. Beginning and experienced teachers
often complain that students rarely become engaged in discussions.
Several research-based teacher behaviors implemented in concert are
needed to establish meaningful interactive environments. Teachers who
improve their questioning are often frustrated when student interaction
does not immediately increase. While questions set an academic mood,


they alone do not encourage students to ponder and respond. Even

effective questioning and appropriate wait-time are often insufficient for
enticing many students to risk responding.
Answering a teachers questions, particularly in front of peers, can be a
terribly intimidating experience for many students. An intellectually safe
environment must be promoted, in part by exhibiting a number of
encouraging non-verbal behaviors alongside appropriate questions and
wait-time. Body language and how long a teacher waits for an answer
communicate how open a teacher is to student responses. Teachers who
genuinely want student interaction will appropriately incorporate encouraging and expectant non-verbal behaviors such as smiling, proper eyecontact with students all around the classroom, movement around the room
and among students, leaning forward when students are speaking, raising
eyebrows to show interest, inviting hand-gestures (Bavelas, Chovil, Coates
& Roe, 1995; Roth, 2001), positioning themselves to be at similar physical
levels as students, and wait-time I and II (Rowe, 1974a, b).
However, even more is required for promoting and maintaining student
interaction. Carefully listening to students and sensitively responding to
what they say is imperative for creating an intellectually safe environment
that encourages students to bare their thinking. Rather than immediately
evaluating student responses, teachers should encourage interaction by
acknowledging student ideas, writing students ideas on the board, using
student ideas as a focus for further instruction, asking students to elaborate,
and asking for the implications of proposed ideas. This does not mean that
all student answers are accepted as correct. Instead, by using student ideas
for further thinking and discussion, the focus of the discussion moves from
a sole concern for right answers to reasoning and justification for ideas
(correct or incorrect), and in the process, students often find errors in
substance and logic that lead them to revise their own thinking.
Clough (2003a) refers to the synergy that results from effective
questioning, positive non-verbals, listening, wait-time, and responding
that further engages students as the central core of effective teaching
practices. The importance of these behaviors is that they are the essential
tools teachers always have at that their disposal for understanding
students thinking, promoting student understanding of content, and
advancing student learning. Moreover, it emphasizes that teaching is,
above all else, an activity centered on human interaction that requires
simultaneous attention to several crucial teacher behaviors.
But even if a teachers interaction pattern reflects all the above, student
discussion may be muted if the science content chosen is not
developmentally appropriate, if the task is not somewhat meaningful, if


needed experiences were not previously available for students to draw

from, if helpful concrete materials are not available during the discussion,
and/or if materials are developmentally inappropriate.
The crux of the matter is that practical suggestions from research,
when implemented in isolation, often result in effects that are either
muted or non-existent (Clough & Kauffman, 1999, p. 532). The power
of what we know about teaching and learning is in the synergy that results
when research findings are collected into a coherent whole. The DecisionMaking Framework in Fig. 1 illustrates how many decisions must be
made in concert to achieve desired ends, and that particular pedagogical
research findings must be integrated and judged alongside other
pedagogical decisions.
Illustrating How Perceived Contradictions and Dilemmas in Education
Research may be Resolved
Teachers often complain that disparate education research findings appear
to provide an array of seemingly conflicting implications for practice.
This is nicely illustrated in a conversation that Bruce Joyce recounts
having with Herbert Thelan regarding discomfort and learning. He writes:
At the University of Chicago, 30 years ago, I ended a conversation with Herbert Thelen by
borrowing a copy of his Education and the Human Quest (1960); I spent much of the night
reading the book. The next day we had a chance to talk again. Among the powerful ideas
Thelen had generated, one left me most stimulated and uncomfortablesignificant learning
is frequently accompanied or impelled by discomfort. Sometimes he put it pungently: The
learner does not learn unless he does not know how to respond (Thelen, 1960, p. 61). . . .
Thelen challenges the effects of the norms of comfort and accommodation (p. 80) that
exist in so many classrooms and that mitigate against the argumentation and difficult,
uncomfortable tasks that characterize effective instruction as he sees it. . . . My first reaction
was confusion. Thelens ideas appeared to conflict with what I had been taught regarding
learners as fragile egos that had to be protected by a supportive environment, so that they
would in fact feel comfortable enough to stretch out into the world. How can the learner be
made comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time? I asked Thelen that question, and he
only smiled and replied, That is a puzzling situation you will have to think about. (Joyce
& Weil, 1996, pp. 386387)

This is indeed a puzzling situation, but one that illustrates well the
complexities in teaching, the inadequacies of education research when
considered separately, and the power of it when brought together into a
coherent whole. A solution to this apparent contradiction is reflected in
Sanfords (1987) noting that exemplary teachers employ elaborate
instructional devices, something she refers to as safety nets to


encourage and support students through their discomfort associated with

higher-level thinking tasks. Hence, an understanding of research
associated with comfort, discomfort, and learning calls for teachers to
create a warm and supportive classroom atmosphere where students feel
safe in taking intellectual risks. At the same time, however, the academic
expectations should push students toward cognitive discomfort associated
with being near their proximal level of development where a student
cannot alone comprehend an idea, but with appropriate assistance from a
teacher or peer, the concept may be understood (Vygotsky, 1978, 1986).
Jones, Rua & Carter (1998, p. 968) write that These more capable peers
assist development in the zone by prompting, modeling, explaining,
asking leading questions, discussing ideas, providing encouragement, and
keeping the attention centered on the learning context.
Contradictions and dilemmas are part of any complex activity such as
teaching. The proposed framework illustrates that effective teacher
decision-making must weigh many factors including desired student
goals, how people learn, and the interaction among pedagogical practices.
In doing so, perceived inconsistencies in education research findings can
often be resolved.
Planning Lessons
Teachers lesson planning decisions are made sometimes with deliberate
thought and sometimes haphazardly. Personal beliefs, the adopted
textbook, colleagues and the institutional setting are major factors in
planning and carrying out lessons. The consistent findings from studies of
science teaching practices reveal a generally inadequate consideration of
how people learn (Bransford et al., 2000) and classroom practices that fail
to engage children in meaningful learning (Weiss, Pasley, Smith,
Banilower & Heck, 2003). Sadly, what Goodlad (1983) wrote over 20
years ago would fit verbatim in any contemporary science education
reform document:
One would expect the teaching of social studies and science in schools to provide ample
opportunities for the development of reasoning: deriving concepts from related events,
testing in a new situation hypotheses derived from examining other circumstances,
drawing conclusions from an array of data, and so on. Teachers listed those skills and
more as intended learnings. We observed little of the activities that their lists implied, and
teachers tests reflected quite different prioritiesmainly the recall of information. The
topics that come to mind as representing the natural and social sciences appear to be of
great human interest. But on the way to the classroom they are apparently transformed and
homogenized into something of limited appeal (Alfred North Whiteheads words on the
uselessness of inert knowledge come to mind) (p. 468).


When planning lessons, teachers often struggle when asked to express

how they decide what science content within a discipline is worth
teaching. Rationales are post-hoc and rarely reflect deep thinking about
the structure of the discipline, how students learn, and other important
factors. Too often the selected textbook defines the course scope,
sequence, and depth implying that a textbooks inclusion of information, in part, legitimizes teaching that content (Weiss, 1993; Weiss
et al., 2003). Textbooks also exert a significant influence on how content
is taughtfrom the sequence of material to the manner in which it is
presented (Weiss et al., 2003).
The Decision-Making Framework reminds teachers that deciding
what content to teach in a lesson, as well as decisions regarding
tasks, activities and materials should reflect how people learn and
promote desired student goals. Using the Decision-Making Framework as an organizer for planning lessons emphasizes the need to
coordinate ones thoughts and decisions through careful consideration
of all parts of the framework, to use educational research as a filter,
and to consider the synergistic and compounding relationships
between parts of the framework. The Decision-Making Framework
is helpful for keeping in mind key decisions in planning and
preparing to teach lessons and units, and that the crucial role of the
teacher is foremost in that thinking.
Emphasizing the Crucial Role of the Teacher
Effective teaching promotes a highly interactive environment. While
interesting and developmentally appropriate content, tasks, activities, and
materials spark students curiosity and set a stage for learning, what
teachers do during a lesson is crucial. For example, Southerland et al.
(2005), in a study of a third-grade urban classroom, reported that:
despite a school year of learning cycle-based lessons, conceptual discussions about the
physical phenomena the students were exploring occurred only in the presence of an
instructor probing them for explanations. If the students were to make sense of this
activity so that it bore a resemblance to a scientific understanding, then the teachers
monitoring and shaping of ideas and observations became necessary. (pp. 10431044)

Teachers exert the greatest influence in the classroom through the way
they cognitively and emotionally engage students in a lesson.
However, the overwhelming layered complexities of learning and
teaching often cloud the value of important findings regarding the
teachers role in creating powerful learning experiences for children.


Too often teachers ignore or downplay their own behaviors and

interaction patterns and how those significantly influence the education
experience (Olson et al., 2004). Whether or not teachers are consciously
aware of their classroom behavior, they develop quite consistent
interaction patterns that change surprisingly little from one classroom
context to another. Understanding the learner and promoting desired
goals depends a great deal on how teachers interact with students
(Shymansky & Penick, 1981; Tobin & Garnett, 1988; Weiss et al.,
2003). The Decision-Making Framework illustrates that a teachers
behaviors and the resulting interaction pattern will interact with other
decisions and significantly influence the teaching and learning process.
Guiding Self-Reflection on and in Action
At any stage of a teachers professional development the DecisionMaking Framework may also serve a useful role for assessing and
improving ones practice. The Decision-Making Framework helps make
explicit many important decisions teachers must consider in planning and
conducting effective lessons. Making these decisions explicit is important
for understanding why a lesson went well and providing a basis for
trouble-shooting when things dont work (Schn, 1983, pp. 6061).
Working individually, with colleagues, or with a professional developer,
the Decision-Making Framework is useful for targeting unexamined
routines and making them explicit for more deliberate study. Greater
work, concentration, and responsibility are demanded of teachers moving
from common didactic practices to more interactive ones (Cohen, 1988),
and the Decision-Making Framework helps teachers identify what
requires more work, on what they must concentrate, and what precisely
are the larger pedagogical responsibilities demanded. In doing so, the
Decision-Making Framework presents a mechanism for self-reflection
both on action and in action. Reflection on-action entails analyzing
practice after teaching a lesson. For instance, when reviewing audio and
video recordings of practice, the Decision-Making Framework helps
teachers see events and complex interactions that would otherwise go
Reflection in-action, during the act of teaching, is extremely difficult
because it requires teachers to quickly process both what they are doing
and what students are doing and immediately use both to make
pedagogical decisions. Schn (1983, p. 164) refers to a practitioners
ability to both shape a situation while taking in information that will
influence further decision-making as double vision and this depends on


certain relatively constant elements brought to a situation otherwise in

flux. For instance, as noted earlier in this article, lack of student
participation in a class discussion may be due to a multitude of factors
that include, but are not limited to, the following:

Content that is beyond students developmental level

Lack of concrete materials or inappropriate materials that confuse
Poorly asked teacher questions
Inappropriate wait-time I and/or II
Passive or negative teacher non-verbal behaviors
Inappropriate teacher responses to previous student comments
Students needing more time to process information.

Keeping the Decision-Making Framework in mind during the act of teaching

can help teachers remember the multiple factors they should consider when
making pedagogical decisions in action. For instance, in the above example
if a teacher has good reason to think students need more time to process
information, then implementing a think-pair-share strategy might be the
appropriate decision to make. Generating such options and deciding among
them is facilitated by using the Decision-Making Framework.
Accurate and effective reflection in-action requires that teachers
understand how multiple factors coalesce to define the education process.
Inherent in this is an incessant feedback loopactivities, materials, and
even content, along with critical teacher behaviors and strategies are
selected to move students forward while also assessing their thinking so
that more-informed decisions are made that repeat the cycle. The
Decision-Making Framework has utility in helping address a crucial
problem noted by Duschl & Gitomer (1997) that teachers struggle at
using student information to guide and revise instructional decisions.
Learning how to reflect on-action and in-action requires making the
implicit beliefs explicita process of developing a language for talking
and thinking about practice by questioning the sometimes contradictory
beliefs underlying their practice (Uhlenbeck, Verloop & Beijaard, 2002,
p. 249). This requires much effort, time, and experience, but from rich
reflection-on-action episodes come more meaningful and productive
action plans for improvement that, in time, make for better reflection-inaction. The small wins (Weick, 1984; Rhatigan & Schuh, 2003) that
follow can be placed within the overarching Decision-Making Framework
and, over time, are more likely to accumulate in a way that makes
effective teaching a reality.


Helping Teachers Explain Themselves

Even the most well-educated and determined teachers will face a number
of institutional constraints during their teaching careers. These institutional constraints may simply be a lack of support for particular practices,
but may entail formidable barriers or fierce attacks by certain stakeholders. Early in this article we quoted Fullan (1996) who argued that
teachers seem to be constantly defending themselves, in part, because
they cannot explain themselves adequately. Echoing this same perspective, Windschitl (2002), in addressing the political dilemmas teachers face
in moving from didactic to highly interactive practices, writes, Without
conceptual grounding, reform-minded teachers can generate neither
coherent instructional strategies nor arguments to advance their aspirations past conservative gatekeepers in the school community (p. 160).
Some potential constraints that teachers face are:

Colleagues and administrators who attempt to mold new teachers

into archaic practices.
Students who see current views of learning/teaching as foreign and
resist such practices.
Parents who challenge a science teachers classroom practices.
Archaic curriculum.
Required assessment practices that reflect archaic curricula, and
views of learning.

Teachers cannot avoid the necessity of persuasively communicating the

complexities of learning and teaching to others. Science teachers unable
to articulate such a framework are open to many attacks for which they
will have no convincing defense. This increases the likelihood they will
return to archaic practices. The Decision-Making Framework is useful in
helping teachers understand the complexities of learning and teaching and
frame their responses to stakeholders who are questioning their practices.
That so many prospective and experienced teachers can at best only
vaguely communicate the complex nature of learning and teaching
degrades public confidence in schools, adds to the perception that
teaching is not quite a profession, calls into question the utility of
education research, and rightfully leads to a skeptical view toward teacher
Structuring Science Methods Courses and Programs
The Decision-Making Framework plays a central role in our respective
secondary science teacher education programs. Early in the program


emphasis is primarily placed on understanding the persistent problems in

science education and understanding how people learn. This provides a
basis for developing a list of goals for students that has much in common
with those appearing in Table 1. The chasm existing between the desired
and actual state of science teaching exists for many reasons, but is due at
least in part to the abstract nature of many student goals listed in Table 1.
In making sense of education research, planning lessons, and reflecting in
and on-action, teachers must have more concrete descriptors of student
activity in mind. The importance of this is illustrated in the difficulties
prospective and experienced science teachers often have when attempting
to articulate what students ought to be observed doing that would be
consistent with the goals advocated in Table 1.
At least two very important insights emerge from articulating student
actions consistent with each goal. First, student actions for various science
education goals have much in common, making apparent the interconnectedness of student goals. This is critical to persuade teachers that
promoting deep understanding of science content is linked to promoting
other goals as well. That is, a deep understanding of fundamental science
ideas requires attention to other science education goals such as creativity,

Common science education goals for students
Students will:

Demonstrate deep robust understanding of fundamental science

concepts rather than covering many insignificant/isolated facts
Use critical thinking skills
Convey an accurate understanding of the nature(s) of science
Identify and solve problems effectively
Use communication and cooperative skills effectively
Actively participate in working towards solutions to local, national,
and global problems
Be creative and curious
Set goals, make decisions, and self-evaluate
Convey a positive attitude about science
Access, retrieve, and use the existing body of scientific knowledge
in the process of investigating phenomena
Convey self-confidence and a positive self-image
Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of science in many careers


critical thinking, problem-solving, communication skills, the nature of

science and others that are often slighted. The overlap in student actions is
also a blessing because promoting multiple goals does not require
disparate pedagogical approaches.
Second, a clear vision of congruent student actions raises practical
questions regarding how to engage students in the complex cognitive
tasks described by those actions. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks
which way she should go, and is told, That depends a good deal on
where you want to get to. The Decision-Making Framework makes clear
that understanding the learner and having a clear vision of science
education goals and congruent student actions are necessary for making
effective decisions regarding:


content to teach
tasks and activities to implement
materials to use
teaching models and strategies to consider
teacher behaviors and interaction pattern to exhibit

While student actions may serve as one important means to assess

students progress, their role for teacher decision-making is more
important. That is, at all times noting what students are (and are not)
doing and saying, and what this conveys about the learner, provides cues
that ought to immediately inform teacher decision-making. Again, the
Decision-Making Framework makes apparent that effective teacher
decisions requires double-vision (Schn, 1983)attending to both the
learner and desired ends in making pedagogical decisions.
From this, a more clear and relevant role for education research
emerges. Much of the difficulty in making sense of education research
lies in a failure to consider how it is or is not relevant to particular desired
ends and how people learn. A vision of desired goals for students and an
understanding of how people learn are both needed for selecting and
making sense out of the vast educational literature. Different views of
learning and/or different desired outcomes may call for different or more
complex orchestration of practices. Without guidance regarding both the
goals of education and how students learn, little basis exists to make sense
of education research and to inform classroom practice. We use the
Decision-Making Framework as a focal point throughout our science
education courses to introduce and revisit the complexities inherent in
learning and effective teaching, and to provide organization to this
complex and often chaotic environment. For example, the following are
some ways we use the Decision-Making Framework in our respective


science teacher education programs and in our work with experienced


Process all activities using the Decision-Making Framework. When

modeling effective and ineffective practices we explicitly draw
prospective and experienced teachers attention to the layered
complexities of teaching represented in the Decision-Making
Link readings to the components of the Decision-Making Framework. For instance, readings regarding questioning, wait-time and
non-verbal behaviors are linked to understanding the learner and
promoting desired goals.
Have prospective and experienced teachers use the Decision-Making
Framework to develop and critique lesson plans.
Have prospective and experienced teachers use the Decision-Making
Framework to analyze videotape of experienced teachers and
understand and gain insight into their decisions in-action, and the
consequences of those decisions on children.
Have teachers use the Decision-Making Framework to analyze the
layered complexities in their own classroom teaching practices (e.g.,
using audio or videotape, or post-lesson conferences).

See Clough & Berg, (1995), Clough (2002, 2003b), Clough, Madsen,
Williams, Bruxvoort & Vanderlinden (2003) and Olson & Appleton
(2006) for more detailed examples of how we use the Decision-Making
Framework in our work with teachers at all levels.
Cooperating teachers sometimes struggle to clearly identify and communicate a student teachers shortcomings and how improvement is to be
accomplished. Too often student teaching and accompanying supervision
experiences are poorly linked to what students learned in their preservice
program. The Decision-Making Framework can be useful in guiding
cooperating teachers and university supervisors coaching of student
teachers to address these and other issues that occur during student
teaching. For example, when student teachers face inevitable classroom
management issues and other instructional struggles, they often rush to
blame the learner (and inappropriately implement punishment/reward
strategies) or seek quick fixes such as entertaining activities. Cooperating
teachers and university supervisors can use the Decision-Making
Framework to pose questions that remind a student teacher to consider


decisions made in the lesson that may account for undesirable student
behaviors and lesson outcomes.
For instance, students lack of engagement and resulting management
issues may partly result from cognitive challenges in a lesson being too
far above or below students developmental level, or too far removed
from students prior knowledge. Or perhaps the cognitive challenges do
not permit entry points for the variety of abilities and backgrounds
existing among the many students in the class. What strategies (e.g.,
predict-observe-explain or think-pair-share) did the student teacher utilize
to encourage all students to be mentally engaged? During periods of waittime I and II, what non-verbal behaviors did the student teacher exhibit to
maintain student engagement? When students are well behaved, what
goals were promoted and what did the student teacher consciously do to
promote those goals? How well did the student teacher probe students
thinking and use that knowledge to promote desired understandings? All
teachers, but particularly novices, must always be on guard not to equate
quiet and compliant students with good teaching (Slater, 2003; Stofflett &
Stefanon, 1996). Directing student teachers attention to the DecisionMaking Framework is an extension of efforts in the teacher education
program to develop habits of thought, observation, and reflection on key
synergetic decisions necessary for effective teaching.
Avoiding Fads in Education
Disconnected research, as well as perceived and real conflicting
implications for practice from isolated research findings, sends practitioners the message that anything goes when teaching, and thus teaching
is simply a matter of personal style. Effective use of the Decision-Making
Framework helps elicit conflicting beliefs, address contradictory recommendations from research, and reconsider research-based recommendations that dont work in isolation. In making sense of learning and
teaching, the Decision-Making Framework helps classroom teachers and
teacher educators identify early, and thus be less susceptible to, education
fads (Slavin, 1989) and reforms that Cuban (1990) writes return again,
again and again (p. 11). Keeping in mind enduring science education
goals, how students learn, and the coherence of effective pedagogy
provides a means to assess the latest innovation for its merits, and stay
the proper course during recurring waves of ill-conceived school reform.
Professional developers will find the Decision-Making Framework useful
for assisting science teachers in becoming critical consumers of


educational research and wisely integrating education literature into their

decision-making practices.


No genuine science is formed by isolated conclusions, no matter how scientifically correct

the technique by which these isolated results are reached, and no matter how exact they
are. Science does not emerge until these various findings are linked up together to form a
relatively coherent systemthat is, until they reciprocally confirm and illuminate one
another, or until each gives the others added meaning. (Dewey, 1929, pp. 2122)

Effective teaching is not simply a matter of subject matter content

knowledge, personal style and experience, nor can it be codified into a list
of What Works as put forth by Marzano et al. (2000). The researchpractice gap exists to a large extent because, beginning in their teacher
preparation programs, teachers quickly find that recommendations from
isolated research findings have little or no meaningful effect in their
classrooms, and they lack a comprehensible means to synthesize the vast
array of research findings into a coherent whole. For example, the
positive effects of the well-supported learning cycle approach can easily
be negated by myriad variables including, but not limited to, the selection
of developmentally inappropriate content, materials that hinder desired
learning, and/or teacher behaviors that do not encourage students to
express their ideas and make the desired connections.
The Decision-Making Framework in Fig. 1 is useful for making
apparent and managing the layers of complexity that exist in learning
and teaching. The Decision-Making Framework is not intended to
comprehensively address all that is required for effective teaching and
learning. Even if such a framework could be created, it would likely be
far too complicated to be grasped by novices and those who are
unfamiliar with the complex interactions in teacher decision-making.
Thus, its utility for organizing reflection prior to, during and after
teaching would be limited. The Decision-Making Framework described
here serves as a useful and comprehensible starting point for discussions
and reflections of teaching. The Decision-Making Framework illustrates
that the strength of education research resides in the synergy resulting
from the integration of disparate research findings into a unifying
system. Without some organizing framework, the enormous complexi-


ties of learning and effective teaching can easily overwhelm educators.

Darling-Hammond (1996) writes that teachers and administrators have
difficulty creating both learning-centered and learner-centered environments because in emphasizing subject matter content, they lose sight of
students, and in emphasizing learners they lose sight of curriculum goals
and the teachers critical role. Anderson (2002) reminds us that
technical, political and cultural obstacles and dilemmas make the
implementation of inquiry activities far more difficult than simply
finding good activities and materials. Fullan (2001) captures the
disjointed thinking often observed in classroom practice when he writes:
it is possible to change on the surface by endorsing certain goals, using specific
materials, and even imitating the behavior without specifically understanding the
principles and rationale of the change. Moreover, with reference to beliefs, it is possible
to value and even be articulate about the goals of the change without understanding their
implications for practices. (pp. 4243, italics in original)

Some may dismiss the Decision-Making Framework, believing it

reflects a bygone era of technical rationality in professional knowledge
(Schn, 1983). The current academic climate in education research
demands one to be almost apologetic when suggesting that at least some
rational causal relationships exist in teaching. In the first chapter of the
most recent Handbook of Research on Teaching (Richardson, 2001),
Floden (2001, p. 14) writes, Successful attempts to find causal
connections refute the radical critics who deny the possibility of causal
understandings in the human sciences. However, the following eight
chapters in Part 1 of the Handbook take up that radical and unproductive
perspective and leave readers thinking that researchers, practitioners, and
policymakers should abandon hopes for research on teaching that can lead
to improvements in education (Floden, 2001, p. 13). Advocates of such
an extreme view may choose to interpret the Decision-Making Framework as mechanical and rigid. Use of the Decision-Making Framework
does not deny that effective teacher decision-making involves more than
pure rationality. However, the constants that professional practitioners in
any field, including teaching, bring to reflection-in-action include the
overarching ideas that help make sense of complex situations (Schn,
1983, p. 270). Research, teacher education, and teaching have all
benefited immensely from the recognition that cause-effect relationships
alone betray the complexities of teaching and learning. However, learning
to teach, reflection-on-action, and reflection-in-action can be promoted
with an overarching framework to guide, not determine, what in the final
sense, is the art of teaching.


We are using the Decision-Making Framework to challenge simplistic

notions of learning and teaching, and narrow the research-practice gap.
Using the Decision-Making Framework to promote effective teacher
decision-making is a moderate position between prevalent unproductive
extremes. It recognizes the fallacy of teacher training and invariant causeeffect relationships in teaching, while maintaining that learning and
characteristics of effective teaching are not as much a mystery as radical
critics of rationality claim. This approach also recognizes the importance
of personal experience while being keenly aware of its limitations
(Kindsvetter, Wilen & Ishler, 1989). It eschews using research findings as
prescriptions for practice, what Fenstermacher (1983) calls structural
elaboration, in favor of decision-making or personal elaboration. The
proposed Decision-Making Framework has significant utility in teaching,
the design of science methods courses, science teacher education
programs, effective student teacher supervision experiences, and professional development workshops. Finally, it provides a realistic response to
the eighty-year old call for coherence in the system of education research
to inform teaching practice.
Many factors coalesce to create the learning environment and its
impact on learners. Reporting single cause-effect teaching and learning
relationships is contrary to the complex and dynamic nature of those
processes. Education research and teacher education efforts must make
explicit the crucial and synergetic interactions, like those illustrated in the
Decision-Making Framework, involved in teaching and learning. Otherwise, the field will continue to be perceived as piecemeal, contradictory,
and continually in search of the magic bullet that will save education.
We can, and should, do better.
Abell, S. K. & Lederman, N.G. (Eds.). (2007). Handbook of research on science
education. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Anderson, R.D. (2002). Reforming science teaching: What research says about inquiry.
Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13(1), 112.
Appleton, K. (2006). Science pedagogical content knowledge and elementary school teachers.
In Appleton, K. (Ed.), Elementary science teacher education: International perspectives on
contemporary issues and practice (pp. 3154. )New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Balzer, A.L., Evans, T.P. & Blosser, P.E. (1973). A review of research on teacher
behavior. Association for the Education of Teachers in Science. Columbus, OH: ERIC
Information Analysis Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.
Bavelas, J.B., Chovil, N., Coates, L. & Roe, L. (1995). Gestures specialized for dialogue.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 394405.


Berg, C.A. & Clough, M.P. (1991a). Hunter lesson design: The wrong one for science
teaching. Educational Leadership, 48(4), 7378.
Berg, C.A. & Clough, M.P. (1991b). Generic lesson design: The case against. The Science
Teacher, 58(7), 2631.
Berliner, D.C. (1985) Reform in education: The case for pedagogy. Presentation Before
the Deans of Land Grant Colleges Meeting, February.
Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R.R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain,
mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press,
Bybee, R. (1997). Achieving scientific literacy: From purposes to practices. Portsmouth,
NH: Heineman.
Clough, M.P. (1992). Research is required reading: Keeping up with your profession. The
Science Teacher, 59(7), 3639.
Clough, M.P. (2002). Using the laboratory to enhance student learning. In Bybee, R.W.
(Ed.), Learning science and the science of learning, 2002 NSTA Yearbook.
Washington, D.C.: National Science Teachers Association.
Clough, M.P. (2003a). Understanding the complexities in learning and teaching science:
The value of a research-based framework. Association for Science Teacher Education
(ASTE) International Conference, St. Louis, MO, January 29 - February 2.
Clough, M.P. (2003b). Structure of a Secondary Science Methods Course Promoting and
Reflecting a Decision-Making Framework for Teaching Science. Association for
Science Teacher Education (ASTE) International Conference, St. Louis, MO, January
29 - February 2.
Clough, M.P. & Berg, C.A. (1995). Preparing and hiring exemplary science teachers.
Kappa Delta Pi Record, 31(2), 8089.
Clough, M.P. & Berg, C.A. (2006). Promoting effective science teacher education and
science teaching: A visual framework for teacher decision-making. Proceedings of the
2006 Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) International Conference.
Portland, OR.
Clough, M.P. & Kauffman, K.J. (1999). Improving engineering education: A researchbased framework for teaching. Journal of Engineering Education, 88(4), 527534.
Clough, M.P. & Olson, J.K. (2003). Unpublished work. Center for Excellence in Science
and Mathematics Education. Iowa State University, Ames, IA.
Clough, M. P., Madsen, A. J., Williams, M., Bruxvoort, C. N & Vanderlinden, D. W.
(2003). Student teacher supervision practices consistent with a decision-making
framework for teaching science. Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)
International Conference, St. Louis, MO, January 29 - February 2.
Cohen, D.K. (1988). Educational technology and school organization. In R.S. Nickerson &
P.P. Zodhiates (Eds.), Technology in education: Looking toward 2020 (pp. 231264.)
Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Cuban, L. (1990). Reforming again, again, and again. Educational Researcher, 19, 313.
Darling-Hammond, L. (1996). The right to learn and the advancement of teaching:
Research, policy, and practice for democratic education. Educational Researcher, 25,
Dewey, J. (1929). The sources of a science of education. New York: Horace Liveright.
Duschl, R.A. & Gitomer, D.H. (1997). Strategies and challenges to changing the focus of
assessment and instruction in science classrooms. Educational Assessment, 4, 3773.
Fenstermacher, G. (1983). How should implications of research on teaching be used.
Elementary School Journal, 83, 496499.


Floden, R.E. (2001). Research on effects of teaching: A continuing model for

research on teaching. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching,
4th Edition (pp. 316. )Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association (AERA).
Fullan, M.G. (1996). Turning systemic thinking on its head. Phi Delta Kappan, 77(6),
Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change. Third Edition. New York:
Teachers College Press.
Gabel, D.L. (Ed.) (1994). Handbook of research on science teaching and learning. A
project of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). New York: Macmillan.
Gallimore, R. & Tharp, R. (1990). Teaching mind in society: Teaching, schooling, and
literate discourse. In L. Moll (Ed.), Vygotsky and education: Instructional implications
and applications of sociohistorical psychology (pp. 175205.) Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.
Good, R. (2007). A personal assessment of science education research. NARST 2007
presidential-sponsored symposium: A critical look at science education as a field of
research. National Association for Research in Science Teaching Conference, New
Orleans, LA, April 1417.
Good, T.L. & Brophy, J.E. (1994). Looking in classrooms, 6th Edition. New York:
Goodlad, J.I. (1983). A summary of a study of schooling: Some findings and hypotheses.
Phi Delta Kappan, 64, 465470.
Jackson, P.W. (1990). Life in classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press.
Jones, M.G., Rua, M.J. & Carter, G. (1998). Science teachers conceptual growth within
Vygotskys zone of proximal development. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,
35(9), 967985.
Joyce, B. & Weil, M. (1996). Models of teaching, 5th Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Kagan, D. M. (1992). Professional growth among preservice and beginning teachers.
Review of Educational Research, 62, 129169.
Karplus, R. (1977). Science teaching and the development of reasoning. Journal of
Research in Science Teaching, 14(2), 169175.
Keys, C.W., Hand, B.M., Prain, V.R. & Sellers, S. (1999). Rethinking the laboratory
report: Writing to learn from investigations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,
36(10), 10651084.
Kindsvetter, R., Wilen, W. & Ishler, M. (1989). Dynamics of effective teaching. New
York: Longman.
Leinhardt, G. & Greeno, J.G. (1986). The cognitive skill of teaching. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 78(2), 7595.
MacKay, D.A. & Marland, P. (1978). Thought processes of teachers. Paper presented at
the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Toronto, Canada. Eric
Document 151 328.
Marzano, R.J., Gaddy, B.B. & Dean, C. (2000). What works in classroom instruction.
Aurora, CO: Mid-Continent: Research for Education and Learning.
Olson, J.K. (2007). Preservice teachers thinking within a research-based framework:
What informs decisions. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education,
5, 4983.
Olson, J. K. & Appleton, K. (2006). Considering curriculum for elementary science
methods courses. In K. Appleton (Ed.), Elementary science teacher education:


International perspectives on contemporary issues and practice (pp. 127151. )New

Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum in association with ASTE.
Olson, J.K. & Clough, M. P. (2001). Technologys tendency to undermine serious study:
A cautionary note. The Clearing House, 75(1), 813.
Olson, J.K., Bruxvoort, C.N., Madsen, A.J., & Clough, M.P. (2004). The effect of
problem-based learning video case content on preservice elementary teachers
conceptions of teaching. National Association of Research in Science Teaching
International Conference, Vancouver, Canada, March 31April 3.
Osborne, R. & Freyberg, P. (1985). Learning in science: The implications of childrens
science. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Penick, J.E., Crow, L.W. & Bonnstetter, R.J. (1996). Questions are the answer: A logical
questioning strategy for any topic. The Science Teacher, 63(1), 2729.
Pizzini, E.L., Shepardson, D.P. & Abell, S.K. (1989). A rationale for and the development
of a problem solving model of instruction in science education. Science Education, 73,
Rhatigan, J.J. & Schuh, J.H. (2003). Small wins. About Campus, 8, 1722.
Richardson, V. (Ed.). (2001). Handbook of research on teaching, 4th Edition.
Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association.
Roth, W.M. (2001). Gestures: Their role in teaching and learning. Review of Educational
Research, 71, 365392.
Rowe, M.B. (1974a). Wait-time and rewards as instructional variables, their influence on
language, logic, and fate control: Part Iwait-time. Journal of Research in Science
Teaching, 11, 8194.
Rowe, M.B. (1974b). Relation of wait-time and rewards to the development of language,
logic, and fate control: Part IIrewards. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 11,
Sanford, J.P. (1987). Management of science classroom tasks and effects on students
learning opportunities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 24, 249265.
Schneider, L.S. & Renner, J.W. (1980). Concrete and formal teaching. Journal of
Research in Science Teaching, 17, 503517.
Schn, D.A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New
York: Basic Books.
Shymansky, J.A. (2006). The State of the Association. Presidential Address, National
Association for Research in Science Teaching Conference, San Francisco, CA, April 5.
E-NARST News, 49(2), 810.
Shymansky, J.A. & Penick, J.E. (1981). Teacher behavior does make a difference in
hands-on science classrooms. School Science and Mathematics, 81, 412422.
Sikula, J. (1996). Handbook of research on teacher education, 2nd Edition. A project of
the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
Slater, T.F. (2003). When is a good day teaching a bad thing. The Physics Teacher, 41(7),
Slavin, RE. (1989). PET and the pendulum: Faddism in education and how to stop it. Phi
Delta Kappan, 70, 752758.
Southerland, S. A., Kittleson, J., Settlage, J. & Lanier, K. (2005). Individual and group
meaning-making in an urban third grade classroom: Red fog, cold cans, and seeping
vapor. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 10321061.
Springer (2008). Springer international handbooks of education. 24 Volumes, The
Netherlands, Springer.


Stofflett, R.T. & Stefanon, L. (1996). Elementary teacher candidates conceptions of successful
conceptual change teaching. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 8(2), 120.
Thelen, H. (1960). Education and the human quest. New York: Harper & Row.
Tobin, K. & Garnett, P. (1988). Exemplary practice in science classrooms. Science
Education, 72, 197208.
Uhlenbeck, A.M., Verloop, N. & Beijaard, D. (2002). Requirements for an assessment
procedure for beginning teachers: Implications from recent theories on teaching and
assessment. Teachers College Record, 104(2), 242272.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological
processes. (M. Cole, V John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman, eds.), Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1986). Thought and language (A. Kozulin, ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT
Weick, K.E. (1984). Small wins: Redefining the scale of social problems. American
Psychologist, 39(1), 4049.
Weiss, I.R. (1993). Science teachers rely on the textbook. In R.E.Yager (Ed.), What
research says to the science teacher, volume seven: The science, technology, society
movement. Washington, D.C.: National Science Teachers Association.
Weiss, I.R., Pasley, J.D., Smith, P.S., Banilower, E.R. & Heck, D.J. (2003). Looking
inside the classroom: A study of K-12 mathematics and science education in the United
States. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research, Inc.
Windschitl, M. (2002). Framing constructivism in practice as the negotiation of dilemmas:
An analysis of the conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political challenges facing
teachers. Review of Educational Research, 72(2), 131175.
Windschitl, M. (2005). Guest Editorial: The future of science teacher preparation in
America: Where is the evidence to inform program design and guide responsible policy
decisions. Science Education, 89, 525534.

Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education

Iowa State University
N157 Lagomarcino, Ames, IA, 50011-3190, USA
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
323 Enderis Hall, Milwaukee, WI, 53211, USA