Many faculty mentors have hosted laboratory visits for students of teachers working in their laboratories. Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and staff from each participating faculty member's laboratory have worked with teachers during the summer months and have visited these teachers' schools. For many inner city students, these interactions with graduate students and fellows are their first contact with a near peer pursuing a career in science.
There are probably over 100 programs for science teachers in the United States, Dr. Silverstein says, but the Columbia program is the only one to have collected student outcomes data for a sufficient period of time to demonstrate a positive impact.
"We were fortunate in the sense that the NYC Department of Education is thorough about their data," study co-author Jay Dubner of Columbia says. "Other teacher research programs are not able to collect similar data their data is not localized, and in many states, a standardized science exam does not yet exist."
And on a qualitative level, teachers who participated in the study indicated that the stresses they experienced in adapting to a research laboratory increased their appreciation of their students' difficulties and prompted them to respond more sympathetically to them. Instead of judging students' answers as "right" or "wrong," they ask, "Why do you think that?" They gain the confidence to acknowledge gaps in their own knowledge, Dr. Silverstein et al report.
Each spring, Columbia's Summer Research Program selects 10 to 13 middle- and high-school science teachers in New York from a pool of 30 to 60 applicants. Admitted teachers are appointed as Visiting Scholars at Columbia University. They receive a stipend of $6,000 per summer and an e-mail account enabling them to use the university's libraries. To aid in the tra
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Columbia University Medical Center