Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This qualitative study focused on the science experiences of six elementary student teachers. The purpose of the study was to learn how preservice teachers make meaning of science teaching during their student teaching experience. The sources of data were interviews with participants, descriptive field notes from observations of their science teaching, and artifacts collected from the site. The themes that emerged from data analysis were personal and professional career influences and constant adjustments of teaching strategies. The participants experienced these themes in varying intensities.
Learning to teach science to elementary children for the first time is complicated by the context of student teaching. The science teaching experiences of student teachers varied with the cooperating teachers' approaches to science teaching, the lengths of time they were assigned to teach science, and the science schedules of the classroom. The role played by mentors interested in science can be important in a student teacher's science experience. Images of science teaching held by student teachers were also found to influence the science teaching experience.
The science curriculum, group management skills, and student responses affected the science teaching experience, as did personal knowledge of a science topic being taught. Those student teachers who had limited knowledge of a science topic became factually oriented in their teaching and tried fewer teaching approaches. Lack of experience and management skills with cooperative groups hindered student teachers' use of hands on activities. Affective student responses to their science lessons were important to some of the student teachers, while others were concerned about student questions and cognitive learning.
Upon completion of the student teaching experience, four of the participants ranked science third or lower in a rank order of subjects they enjoyed teaching during student teaching. At the end of their student teaching experience, three of the student teachers were eager to teach science in their own classrooms and had a vision of how they would do so, but the other three were not sure how they would teach science.
Wilcox, Jacqueline K., "Science Experiences Of Six Elementary Student Teachers: A Case Study" (1998). Theses and Dissertations. 787.