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LessonLab Research Institute Director Addresses Leading Science Experts at Literacy Institute’s Annual Conference

July 9, 2008

WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Kathleen Roth, Ph.D, Director and Chief Scientist of the LessonLab Research Institute (LLRI), addressed the nation’s leading experts on the integration of science education with literacy this week at the Literacy Institute’s 2008 conference, Connecting Literacy to Promote Student Success.

Dr. Roth’s speech, “Using Content Storylines to Connect Science and Literacy,” presented lessons learned from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1999 Video Study, a cross-national study of eighth-grade classroom mathematics and science teaching. During the presentation, Roth showed video clips from the TIMSS study to engage participants in understanding the idea of using “content storylines” in science teaching — a key idea that grew out of the TIMSS video study.

The National Geographic Society (NGS) and Michigan State University’s Literacy Achievement Research Center (LARC) developed the Literacy Institute to facilitate discussion of the latest findings on effective instructional practices. NGS and LARC strive to emphasize the importance of nonfiction literacy to students’ appreciation of the scientific challenges facing us as citizens, such as global warming, conflicting medical reports and alternative fuel options.

“The TIMSS Video Study of 8th grade science teaching revealed that higher-achieving countries make science ideas central and explicitly link lesson activities to the development of science ideas in a coherent content storyline,” said Dr. Roth. “In the U.S., in contrast, science content plays a less central role and sometimes no role at all. The focus is on doing activities with weak or no links to the development of science ideas. In this talk, I wanted to highlight the importance of literacy activities (reading, writing, speaking) in making the connections between science inquiry activities and the development of science ideas — that is, in building content storylines. Although there are many ways that educators are integrating literacy into science teaching, results from the TIMSS Video Study suggest that using literacy to develop coherent science content storylines within and across science lessons should be a top priority.”

Dr. Roth was appointed Director of LLRI, an independent research organization of the education business Pearson, in 2008. She directed the TIMSS Video Study of Science Teaching and is currently the principal investigator for three NSF-funded projects: Science Teachers Learning through Lesson Analysis (STeLLA), Videocases for Science Teaching Analysis (ViSTA) and Tying Words to Images of Science Teaching (TWIST). Her career in education includes seven years as a middle and high school science teacher, and 15 years as a teacher educator and researcher at Michigan State University. Much of her research on student learning has been conducted in her dual role as teacher-researcher, where she teaches elementary school science and studies her students’ learning. Her research also focuses on teacher learning at both the preservice and inservice levels, with a current focus on the use of videocases of science teaching as a rich learning context for teachers.

Dr. Roth joined LLRI in 1999 to direct the science portion of the TIMSS 1999 Video Study. The study involved videotaping and analyzing teaching practices for math and science lessons in more than 1000 classrooms in various countries. The study aimed to investigate and discover new mathematics and science teaching practices, compare U.S. teaching practices with those in high-achieving countries, develop new teaching research methods and tools for professional development and create a digital library of images of teaching to inform U.S. educational policy.

About LLRI

The LessonLab Research Institute (LLRI) is an independent research organization of Achievement Solutions at Pearson that focuses on investigating mathematics and science teaching and their improvement in K-12 classrooms. LLRI engages in a variety of research projects, all motivated by the problems of education. By conducting high quality research with implications for teacher and student learning; disseminating research findings in ways that are meaningful to teachers, school districts and researchers; and forming strategic partnerships to facilitate the dissemination of research, LLRI strives to improve teacher education and teacher professional development. Projects are funded by foundations and government agencies, such as NSF, NCES, and IES. For more information about LLRI, go to http://www.llri.org/.

Pearson Education

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