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Teacher knowledge and lesson design

The studies reported in this thesis were situated in the context of an innovation of Dutch secondary school biology curricula. As in any innovation, the practical knowledge of teachers determine the outcomes through the decisions they make while planning and teaching their lessons. The aim of the studies was to clarify the relation between teacher knowledge and the decisions they make while designing innovative lessons, in order to be able to effectively support teacher professional development.

Nienke Wieringa
23 January 2019
Fulltext in Leiden Repository

The results show that the design decisions teachers make when planning their lessons are guided by personal rules-of-thumb, which are strongly associated with desired lesson outcomes, such as having fun, having students understand the relevance of biological concepts, or triggering preconceptions. Such rules-of-thumb and desired outcomes can be represented in the form of a so-called goal system. Especially the core goals in such a system predict the way a teacher will interpret and implement an innovation. The studies further show that innovative lesson design can be effectively supported by a combination of model lessons and heuristics. More extensive design models, on the other hand, seem to be less effective, because such models fail to align with teachers’ preferred design routines.

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