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Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study: Understanding the Processes Preservice Teachers use to Write Lesson Plans

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Student Division Development of Professional Skills Technical Session

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Paper Authors


Marissa Capobianco The College of New Jersey

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I am currently a graduating senior at The College of New Jersey studying Elementary Education and iSTEM (integrated Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) with a specialization in Technology and a minor in Environmental Sustainability Education.

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Courtney June Faber University of Tennessee

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Courtney is a Research Assistant Professor and Lecturer in the College of Engineering Honors Program at the University of Tennessee. She completed her Ph.D. in Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University. Prior to her Ph.D. work, she received her B.S. in Bioengineering at Clemson University and her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Courtney’s research interests include epistemic cognition in the context of problem solving, researcher identity, and mixed methods.

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An important part of any teacher preparation program is the process of planning and writing lesson plans. Lesson planning is so important to the growth of preservice teachers because it shows all the necessary pieces to teaching an exemplary lesson. Over the course of the spring 2016 semester, data was collected from a group of junior level STEM education preservice teachers on their lesson plan writing process. We were interested in seeing and comparing the different processes students used for writing lesson plans. Knowing how preservice teachers write lesson plans will inform the support that teacher preparation programs provide. Specifically, we wanted to know where preservice teachers struggled in the process. To accomplish this goal, we studied the lesson plans and reflections students wrote within their education course.

We collected six lesson plans. These were assessed using a rubric we developed by looking at existing rubrics and literature. For this paper, we selected two specific lesson plans written on a similar topic, allowing us to identify key similarities and differences in the lesson plans and the processes the students used to write them. One of these lesson plans was the highest scoring lesson plan, and the other lesson plan was closer to the mean for the six participants. The rubric assessed the opening and closing, plan for instruction, differentiation strategies, teaching standards, objectives, and assessments sections of the lesson plan. The process that students used to write their lesson plans was determined by analyzing the students’ written reflections. Additionally, for one student we were able to collect and analyze a video recording of their computer screen as the lesson plan was being written. For both the reflections and video, we created flow charts to represent the exact process the students and coded for challenges the students said they had. This data was compared across students to identify similarities and differences.

We identified that within the process of developing a lesson plan students struggled to choose and align standards, a key component of developing a strong lesson plan. We also identified that some students lacked the necessary detail in their lesson plans. As a preservice teacher, it is important to provide rich detail as they are learning to plan and carry out a successful lesson. The results of this preliminary study and the challenges faced during the process of data collection and analysis have informed the development of a new protocol. We are continuing our study this fall semester by recruiting other preservice teachers to write a lesson plan on a designated computer that will record the computer’s screen as the students work. This will be followed by an interview to further explore the preservice teacher’s process and are they struggled. This follow-up study will provide us with more information on the lesson planning process and in turn inform teacher preparation. In our paper, we will discuss the rubric we developed, the results of our pilot study, and the methods we are using in our current work.

Capobianco, M., & Faber, C. J. (2017, June), Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study: Understanding the Processes Preservice Teachers use to Write Lesson Plans Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28618

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