Since the release of the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education in 2011 and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013, elementary and secondary science teachers have been in a exhilarating phase of adaptation and transition. Teachers are opening their minds to new ways of thinking about science education, and, with the right support, are in a position to revolutionize the way kids learn science in America.
Effective coaches help teachers succeed by helping them to identify their own learning goals, while honoring teacher expertise. Porras-Hernández and Salinas-Amescua (2013) propose that allowing teachers to tell their stories in the form of teacher narratives will allow coaches to uncover the teacher’s own knowledge construction following an inductive approach, while using TPACK as a reference in identifying goals for coaching.
Photo by Kamyar Adl (2007) “Hat shop” in covered market, Oxford.
Considering the innumerable roles K-12 teachers assume, or “all the different hats they wear,” on a daily basis, conjures the image above, of a person standing in a well-stocked hat shop. So, a good place to start is to categorize teachers’ areas of expertise. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK), is a framework that “attempts to identify the nature of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration” while recognizing that each component is situated in a unique context (tpack.org, Koehler, 2012).
According to Koehler and Mishra (2009), content knowledge is teachers’ knowledge about the subject matter, pedagogical knowledge is teachers’ knowledge about the methods of teaching and learning and technological knowledge is teachers’ knowledge about working with tech tools and resources. The three types of knowledge interact in seven different ways, constituting “the seven components of TPACK,” together with context, the eighth component.
As noted by Harris and Hofer (2017) in their study of the use of TPACK by schools and school districts for professional development, the construct has been appropriated, understood and enacted to serve several functions, including: a connector, a grass-roots initiative, a check-and-balance, an instructional planning tool, a technological focus, a compass and a collaborative process. Study participants reported that “the construct helped them conceptually and organizationally to both honor teachers’ professional experience… and concomitantly help teachers to further develop that knowledge and practice with well-informed, judiciously chosen digital tools and resources applied in effective ways” (p. 11).
Part of what makes the TPACK framework so useful for teachers is that it can be flexible, dynamic and adaptive, lending itself to be used in so many different ways and also to be modified. Porras-Hernández and Salinas-Amescua (2013) have adapted the model to more accurately represent the complexity of the contexts, or “scope” (p. 288) in which teachers teach. In the figure below (See Figure 1, Porras-Hernández & Salinas-Amescua, 2013), context is divided into three different levels: the macro context defined by social, political, technological and economic conditions, the meso context defined by the local community, school district, school and administrators and the micro context defined by the in-class conditions for learning. Conditions of all three context levels comprise the learning scope, and each affects how students learn in the classroom.
Porras-Hernández, L. H., & Salinas-Amescua, B. (2013). Strengthening TPACK: A Broader Notion of Context and the Use of Teacher’s Narratives to Reveal Knowledge Construction. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 48(2), 223–244. https://doi-org.ezproxy.spu.edu/10.2190/EC.48.2.f