AN ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT OF COACHING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A LABORATORY-BASED ELEMENTARY SCIENCE PROGRAM (CURRICULUM)
This exploratory field experiment was designed to determine whether the intervention of coaching had an effect on the implementation of a laboratory-based elementary science program. Four areas were examined: teacher attitudes about teaching the science program; teacher concerns related to implementing the program; student attitudes about learning science; and the degree to which teachers actually implemented and used the program. Coached teachers and students were compared to non-coached teachers and students. The study utilized the Survey of Teaching Science (SoTS) and the Student Science Survey (SSS) to assess teacher and student attitudes about teaching and learning science. Two instruments from the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) were also utilized: the Stages of Concerns Questionnaire (SoCQ) and the Levels of Use (LoU) structured interview. Teacher attitudes and concerns were measured before initial training in the use of the program and again at the end of the first five months of use. Student attitudes were measured only at the end of the first five months. The level of use of the program was determined through interviews conducted at the end of five months of use. The level of use of the program was found to be higher for coached teachers. They were more frequently at a Routine level of use. Most non-coached teachers remained at a Mechanical level. Teacher concerns changed in a developmental fashion from those related to the "self" to those more related to the "impact" of the program on students. Coaching tended to accelerate that normal developmental process. The study found that student attitudes about learning science were significantly more positive in the classrooms of coached teachers. Coaching had no effect on the attitudes of implementing teachers. Coaching, during the first five months of the implementation of a laboratory-based science program, enhances the degree to which teachers actually use or implement the program in the classroom. It has a positive effect on teacher concerns about teaching the program and on the attitudes of students about learning science. While the behavior of coached teachers changed, there was no difference in the attitudes of coached and non-coached teachers.