The CAPSI model for training teachers was developed
over a period of time in the pilot schools of Pasadena.
Lead teachers provide training to teachers who have not
taught a particular module. Ideally, lead teachers will
have already taught the module in question at least
twice. The training takes place in a cooperative learning
group of from two to twelve teachers at a time. The
average number of teachers in the groups is four to five.
Also joining the group is a volunteer scientist whose
discipline often is not the science topic of the module.
Thus, the scientist is not a content resource but,
rather, someone who, stimulated by his or her own
curiosity, will model scientific behavior and habits of
thinking. A physicist seeing mealy worms for the first
time may know much less about them than the teachers in
the group, but his or her experiences and training as a
scientist may prompt him or her to ask a series of
questions, suggest ideas to test, or even make statements
such as, "I haven't a clue. How could we find
The module training sessions last one day, then the
trainee teachers teach the module in their classrooms.
Each module is from six-eight weeks long. During this
period, a resource teacher visits to help. The emphasis
in this early phase of training is on thorough
familiarity with the materials and on classroom
management. The lack of these has proved to be a major
impediment to the introduction of hands-on science in
many schools in the past, according to CAPSI/Pasadena
At the end of the school year, one week is set aside
for follow-up debriefings. Ideally, each debriefing is
conducted by the same lead teacher who conducted the
initial training and the scientist, too. Debriefing days
are held for modules only in the first year that they
have been used. Debriefing is still a day-long affair in
Pasadena, but in other school districts, financial and
time constraints have sometimes limited debriefings to
half a day.
Over time, teachers in training continue to be visited
by the resource teachers. Some of the outstanding
teachers of a particular module also become lead teachers
for that module and may even become involved in training
teachers in other schools in the district. The intention
is to help teachers move from mechanical use to routine
use to a truly creative involvement with the materials,
the students, their colleagues, and, ultimately, with
their own professional development as life-long learners.
(See Background: Professional