Investigating the Effects of an Aquatic Ecology Graduate Course for Teachers: Linking Teaching to the Environment and Community

  • Yvonne Meichtry
  • Jeff Smith
Keywords: Aquatic, Ecology, Graduate, Education, Environment, Community, Teaching


The purposes of this study were to determine the impact of a graduate teacher education course on the confidence levels and classroom practices of teachers. The three-credit hour, field-based course was taught during the summer using a two-week workshop and one follow-up day format. Place-based teaching approaches were utilized during the course. These approaches were designed to immerse teachers in studies of their local aquatic environment and community-based resources that are associated with the aquatic environment. Pre, post, and delayed post-survey data were analyzed using MANOVA and ANOVA measures to determine changes in the teachers’ confidence levels and classroom practices. Positive changes were found in the teachers’ confidence and classroom teaching in the use of various instructional technology, standards-based teaching strategies, community resources, field investigations, and in the teaching of water quality topics, real life topics, societal issues, and career education. An analysis of responses to open-ended questions on the delayed post-survey revealed the strengths of the course in regard to the learning of science content, instructional pedagogy and applications to classroom teaching, the potential impact on K-12 student learning, and barriers to implementing desired classroom practices. Implications and recommendations are presented that can be generalized across a variety of educational programs.

Author Biographies

Yvonne Meichtry
Northern Kentucky University
Jeff Smith
Northern Kentucky University