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Professional knowledge of biology teachers – a video study (ProwiN II; BMBF, 2012-2016)


involved persons:

LMU: Prof. Dr. Birgit J. Neuhaus, Dr. Sonja Werner, Dr. Lena von Kotzebue, Dr. Christian Förtsch

Universität Duisburg-Essen: Prof. Dr. Hans E. Fischer, Prof. Dr. Detlev Leutner, Prof. Dr. Elke Sumfleth, Gerlinde Lenske

Ruhr-Universität Bochum: Prof. Dr. Joachim Wirth, Dr. Hubertina Thillmann

Universität Potsdam: Prof. Dr. Andreas Borowski

Universität Regensburg: Prof. Dr. Oliver Tepner

In recent years, the video based study has proven to one of the most promising tool for classroom and teaching research. Many studies with their focus on the interaction between general and more specific features (cf. Wadouh, 2007; Jatzwauk, 2007; Wüsten, 2010) of quality of teaching biology have made worthwhile contributions to the field of biology education. Another main aspect in biology education, beside the organization of the lessons, is the professionalism of teachers (Neuhaus, 2007). The professional knowledge of a teacher can be classified into three main dimensions: content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge (Baumert & Kunter, 2006). So far there have been very few empirical studies to understand several dimensions of a ‘teacher’s professionalism’ and their individual effect on the quality of teaching and student outcomes. Beside the LMT study the COACTIV study provides results for mathematics teachers in term of the professional knowledge of teachers and the connection to students´ outcomes (Baumert et al., 2010; Hill, Rowan & Loewenberg Ball, 2005). Comparable studies on professional knowledge of teachers and the connection with the teaching and students´ outcomes are still missing for natural scientific subjects in Germany.

The proposed video study which is a part of the cooperative research project between University of Bochum, University of Duisburg-Essen, LMU Munich, University of Regensburg, and RWTH Aachen will endeavor to analyze the professional knowledge of science teachers (ProwiN). The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and includes two phases. The first phase of the project involved developing a research model (Tepner et al., 2012) and test instruments (Jüttner, 2012; Witner, 2010; Kirschner, Borowski & Fischer, 2011) that help to investigate teacher knowledge categories like pedagogical content knowledge, content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. The test instruments developed in this phase will be used in the second phase to understand the correlation between cognitive aspect of a teacher’s knowledge and their classroom behavior and teaching method. This study will involve deeper empirical investigation of the video data collected from individual teachers. In addition, correlational study will be conducted to understand the link between the three kinds of teacher’s knowledge and their impact on classroom teaching. The student outcomes will be used to understand the link between teacher knowledge and quality of teaching in the classrooms.

Hence, the aim of this dissertation is to examine connections between the different ‘dimensions of professional knowledge’ and ‘teacher behavior in the classroom’. In addition, differentiated predictions about the effects of the professional knowledge on students’ achievement and motivation shall be made. Furthermore, to accomplish this proposed research task, we aim to video record the topic of neurobiology which is taught in the 9th grade at the secondary schools (‘Gymnasium’) in Bavaria.