of Cornell GK-12 Program on Graduate Student Fellows
by M.E. Krasny, N.M. Trautmann, and L. Avery at the 87th
Annual Meetings of the Ecological Society of America.
Tucson, AZ, 2002.
The NSF Graduate
Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education program (GK-12), through
which graduate students teach in pre-college science classrooms,
has multiple goals for graduate and k-12 students and teachers.
We conducted written surveys to determine what graduate
fellows learned from their GK-12 experience. Fellows felt
they learned a great deal about teaching, specifically how
to facilitate inquiry-based projects in classrooms, and
how to improve their presentation and classroom management
skills. They also enhanced their ability to develop and
assess curricula and to communicate about their research
to non-scientists. Although only two fellows mentioned in
response to an open-ended question that they learned about
new areas of science, follow-up questions indicated that
learning about science from the other fellows and from having
to prepare to teach was important for most fellows. The
fact that fellows learned about science as well as about
teaching is interesting in light of a concern that involvement
in a GK-12 program might work counter to a graduate student’s
development as a research scientist. However, it is likely
that at least for the Cornell GK-12 program, where fellows
develop their own classroom activities rather than teach
canned curricula, the commitment required from graduate
students is greater than that entailed in other types of
funding, e.g., teaching assistantships. The question of
whether the learning that occurs through GK-12 fellows’
experiences balances the significant commitment required
will be explored.