The ViSTA Plus program (Videocases for Science Teaching Analysis Plus) is a research-based pre-service elementary science teacher education program that includes a semester-long methods course introducing preservice teachers to specific teaching strategies and video-based analysis of classroom instruction. The program continues with supports through the student teaching experience, and into the first year of teaching. The program’s Intellectual Merit is grounded in the theoretical framework, pedagogical approach, instructional resources, and analysis tools used in the BSCS STeLLA program (Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis), which the ViSTA Plus program was built from, and that has been demonstrated to be effective in supporting in-service elementary science teachers and their students.

The Intellectual Merit is further demonstrated in the research design, in which we studied the impact of the ViSTA Plus program in partnership with two universities in the Southwestern United States. We compared the experiences of preservice teachers using the ViSTA program from their methods course, through student teaching, and through their first-year of teaching, to a group of teachers who experienced a traditional teacher education program and induction year. Results show that teachers in the ViSTA Plus program developed significantly greater science content knowledge than teachers receiving Business-as-Usual teacher education, as well as significant increases in their understanding of how to teach science. These increases in teacher knowledge resulted in more effective classroom teaching (measured via observations) and ultimately resulted in greater science achievement in their students during student teaching compared to teachers from the traditional program.

The Broader Impacts of this project point to the importance of a) bringing authentic classroom instruction into the methods course through video-based lesson analysis, b) a strong conceptual framework from which to approach teaching science, and c) providing consistency by working with beginning teachers through their methods course, student teaching, and induction year.

Last Modified: 09/30/2018
Modified by: Christopher D Wilson