Collaborative Professional Development on Authentic Science May Reduce Barriers to Implementation in High School Classrooms



Collaborative professional development, authentic science, inquiry, science practices, collaborative curriculum design, science teacher education


Teachers face challenges implementing authentic high school science lessons, particularly around inquiry practices and contemporary context. We created a collaborative curriculum design workshop to integrate authentic science activities on local invasive species into their classrooms while supplementing content knowledge via field trips to research sites and invasive species infestations. 36 teachers attended then implemented lessons they revised at the workshop in their classrooms. After implementation, we interviewed participants about barriers to lesson implementation. Teachers reported barriers of standardized testing, district mandates, time, and collaboration with other educators, all identified in previous literature. We also identified physical proximity as a barrier. Following professional development, several of the barriers were reduced or expected to be reduced for implementation of authentic science lessons, including collaboration, time, and physical proximity. We demonstrate the power of authentic science practice-based teacher professional development workshops that emphasize collaborative planning time for teachers while incorporating content presentations, in line with recommendations for teacher professional development writ large. We recommend collaborative professional development designs bringing together personnel from the same job site or district as well as from different districts while partnering with universities to retain university campus features such as access to active, authentic research sites.

Author Biography

Kathryn A. Stofer, University of Florida

research associate professor, agricultural education, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, Gainesville, FL




How to Cite

Stofer, K. A., Flory, S. L., Albrecht, D., Hall, R., Watts, J., Fahey, C., Kendig, A., Keel, J. H., & Petri, T. (2024). Collaborative Professional Development on Authentic Science May Reduce Barriers to Implementation in High School Classrooms. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 61(1). Retrieved from



FJER Research Article