, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 1-12

What do preservice teachers learn in an inquiry-based science methods course?

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Abstract

This study investigated how early childhood education (ECE) (PreK-3) preservice teachers’ ideas about science education change as a result of implementing an inquiry-based curriculum within an ECE science methods course (ten-week quarter). Fifty-two preservice teachers, including 50 females and 2 males, with 2 members of an ethnic minority group were part of the study. The preservice teachers’ knowledge and undertanding of how to implement inquiry learning deepened over the tenweek period. The preservice teachers seemed to gain some confidence in implementing inquiry learning. Preservice teachers need to have focused science teaching time with primary students to strengthen and support their confidence, attitudes, and abilities to implement inquiry learning. Also, support for inquiry learning must come from K-12 educators as well as arts and science faculty, as this is where preservice teachers can develop substantive content knowledge within authentic science learning experiences.