Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Farris, Pamela J.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Teaching--Awards--Illinois; Elementary school teachers--Rating of--Illinois; Science teachers--Rating of--Illinois; Science--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Illinois


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of exemplary elementary science teachers in the areas of effective science teaching, as well as behaviors undertaken to become exemplary, and recommendations for other teachers to improve their science teaching. This qualitative study considered the award nominees for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching from the state of Illinois from the years 1997 to 2001. Seven teachers chose to participate in interviews for this study. The participants answered questions relating to their perceptions of effectiveness and made suggestions to other teachers. The responses were categorized with their relation to the National Science Standards and reported as the data within the study. “A Guide to Exemplary Science Teaching” and “A Guide to Improving Science Teaching” were developed from the responses and the findings of past research as reported in literature. The perceptions of the nominees brought the conclusions that these exemplary teachers characterized effective teaching by exhibiting and discussing characteristics similar to those found in past research studies. Additional insights from these teachers added to the body of knowledge about how teachers improve their teaching abilities and strategies and become exemplary. The nominees explained that to become more knowledgeable in the areas of science content and pedagogy, they took advantage of many different types of opportunities. The nominees recommended that teachers take classes, workshops, and participate in conferences. All the nominees recommended sharing with and learning from colleagues. Observing other teachers and discussing their strategies, analogies, and metaphors that add to the understanding of the concepts taught were essential to becoming a better science teacher. The implications for teachers were that it would be necessary for them to take independent steps in advancing their knowledge of science pedagogy and content. Teachers also must make it a priority to participate regularly in workshops and conferences as well as to observe other teachers in their schools or elsewhere. These implications for teachers will include communicating with administrators about continuous and adequate support in the form of time and funding.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [196]-202).


[xii], 212 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type