Events & Seminars > Event Details


Room 304, Chemistry Building

Capturing instructional practices in the chemistry classrooms and laboratories: New research-based tools to address both instructors’ and researchers’ needs


Professor Marilyne Stains
University of Nebraska

Hosted by: Dr. Lindsay Wheeler

Within the last ten years, there has been a growing interest in transforming the instructional practices in science courses at the university level. As the variety of pedagogical professional development efforts expand, there is an increasing need to quantify teaching practices. Stakeholders may be interested in monitoring changes over time, comparing instructional practices between instructors or courses, or mapping observed behaviors to research-defined teaching practices. Although existing observation protocols may address some of these goals, their applicability is restricted by critical limitations. In this presentation, we describe two methods for the reliable and valid characterization of instructional practices via easily-collected observational data. The first method was developed empirically via a cluster analysis using observations of 269 individual class periods, collected from 74 different faculty at 28 different research-intensive institutions in the United-States. We will describe the ten basic clusters of instructional behaviors that emerged from this analysis. In addition, a detailed breakdown of typical instructional practices by course level, class size, classroom layout, and faculty teaching experience will be provided. The second method derives from this first method and follows a similar analytical lens but focuses on instruction in the chemistry laboratory. Both of these methods have been developed with researchers and instructors in mind so that they can be used to measure changes as a results of a pedagogical intervention but also as a tool to train or refine one’s own instructional practices.