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Creators/Authors contains: "Sadler, Troy D."

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  1. Abstract

    COVID-19 creates an opportunity for science classrooms to relate content about viruses to students’ personal experiences with the pandemic. Previous researchers have shown that students are interested in crisis situations like disease outbreaks; however, they primarily acquire information about these events through internet sources which are often biased. We argue that it is important to understand student interest, concerns, and information-seeking behaviors related to COVID-19 to support science classroom learning and engagement about the virus and other potential outbreaks. We surveyed 224 high school students and analyzed their responses to six open-ended questions. We found that students expressed the most interest in topics related to the origin of COVID-19 and vaccines. Their greatest concerns included contracting the virus or someone they know contracting the virus and vaccine distribution. Of our sample, only 6.7% reported using their teachers as their source of COVID-19 information. Science classrooms have the potential to pique students’ situational interest by discussing COVID-19 topics that are important to students, which can increase their academic performance, content knowledge, attention, and engagement in learning about viruses. Moreover, classroom instruction about COVID-19 by teachers has shown to alleviate students’ stress and anxiety. We provide key areas of student interest about COVID-19 to help educators address students’ questions and improve curricular resources on viral pandemics.

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  2. Abstract

    While much is known about the characteristics that researchers deem valuable for professional development (PD), teachers’ perceptions of their PD needs are less understood. In this study, we sought to explore teachers’ perceptions of their PD needs, including PD format, time frame, and topics covered, and how those perceptions varied by teachers’ district size, grade level, subject area, and years of experience. Participants included a statewide representative sample of 800 elementary and secondary STEM teachers with a wide range of teaching experience and from small to large school districts across Missouri. Each participant responded to the MO‐STEM PD Needs Assessment, a 61‐item Likert scale survey. We found teachers to be most interested in learning about real‐world issues and problem‐based learning to teach STEM content. Teachers’ participation in PD positively correlated with district size and the manner in which PD is valued in their community of practice, while years of teaching experience was negatively correlated with interest in virtually all categories of the survey, including formats of PD delivery and the majority of PD topics. We conclude with a discussion of the ways in which teachers’ expressed preferences for PD ran contrary to what the literature suggests as best practices for PD.

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