Developed by: Fred Goldberg, Sharon Bendall, Mike McKean, and Jennifer Radoff
middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school other
What? A practice of attending and responding to the substance of students' thinking. The instructor's next moves are based on students' emerging ideas, and informed by specific learning goals. Resources include launching questions and annotated videos of responsive teaching in elementary classrooms.
Why? Responsive teaching supports students in developing their own explanations and models that are grounded in cause and effect, evidence, and logical reasoning. At the same time that students learn science concepts, they also learn about the kinds of activities that constitute science.
Why not? Responsive teaching requires skill and training to implement effectively. Teachers must be prepared to respond creatively to unexpected ideas. This approach is not guaranteed to "cover" traditional science content.
Student skills developed
- Designing experiments
Instructor effort required
- Simple lab equipment
You can find free examples of responsive curricula and instructions for enacting them from the Responsive Teaching in Science website.
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
- at least 1 of the "based on" categories
- at least 1 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
- at least 1 of the "studied using" categories
Research Validation Summary
Based on Research Into:
- theories of how students learn
- student ideas about specific topics
Demonstrated to Improve:
- conceptual understanding
- problem-solving skills
- lab skills
- beliefs and attitudes
- retention of students
- success of underrepresented groups
- performance in subsequent classes
- cycle of research and redevelopment
- student interviews
- classroom observations
- analysis of written work
- research at multiple institutions
- research by multiple groups
- peer-reviewed publication
- C. Alvarado, A. Daane, R. Scherr, and G. Zavala, Responsiveness Among Peers Leads to Productive Disciplinary Engagement, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2013, Portland, OR, 2013.
- D. Hammer and E. van Zee, Seeing the Science in Children's Thinking: Case Studies of Student Inquiry and Physical Science., (Heinemann, Portsmouth, 2006).
- A. Maskiewicz and V. Winters, Understanding the Co-Construction of Inquiry Practices: A Case Study of a Responsive Teaching Environment, J. Res. Sci. Teaching 49 (4), 429 (2012).
- J. Radoff, F. Goldberg, D. Hammer, and S. Fargason, The Beginnings of Energy in Third Graders’ Reasoning, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, 2010.
- A. Robertson and L. Goodhew, Exploring the Role of Content Knowledge in Responsive Teaching, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2016, Sacramento, CA, 2016.
- I. Salter and L. Atkins, Student-Generated Scientific Inquiry for Elementary Education Undergraduates: Course Development, Outcomes and Implications, J. Sci. Teach. Educ. 24 (1), 157 (2013).
- V. Winters and D. Hammer, Fourth Graders’ Framing of an Electric Circuits Task , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2009, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2009.