Strategies to support teachers' professional development regarding sense‐making in context‐based science curricula

Ria Dolfing (Corresponding author), Gjalt T. Prins, Astrid M. W. Bulte, Albert Pilot, Jan D. Vermunt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
    102 Downloads (Pure)


    The aim of this study is to develop more understanding about strategies to support teachers' professional development in curriculum innovations, in which pedagogy and content change simultaneously compared to the conventional curriculum. A pre‐existing framework, including strategies for professional development, was adapted, implemented, and evaluated from the perspective of teachers' sense‐making in teaching context‐based science curricula. This framework guides the design of activities that support teachers' development in three new aspects of teaching context‐based science units: setting a context in class, performing a new teaching role, and teaching new content. In a case study, six teachers in secondary education participated in a professional development program based on the adapted framework. A qualitative inner‐case analysis was conducted to describe teachers' sense‐making during the program, in terms of the categories “assimilation,” “accommodation,” “toleration,” and “distantiation.” Results showed that teachers participating in the professional development program successfully assimilated and accommodated all three aspects; however, the process of teachers' sense‐making of the new content followed a different path compared to the processes of the other aspects. The relation between these results and the adapted framework are discussed to retrieve strategies for planning professional development programs to support teachers in curriculum innovations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-165
    Number of pages39
    JournalScience Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


    • context-based science education
    • curriculum innovations
    • secondary school
    • sense-making process
    • teachers' professional development


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