, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 665-681
Date: 30 Jul 2010

The Problematic Nature of the Practicum: A Key Determinant of Pre-service Teachers’ Emerging Inquiry-Based Science Practices

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Abstract

This article disseminates findings from a multi-year study regarding secondary preservice science teachers’ perceptions toward inquiry-based science teaching, and the extent these perceptions are augmented by their practicum. While findings indicated that preservice teachers did improve their understanding and capability of using scientific inquiry due to their methods course, the role of practicum in supporting their newly developed perceptions was problematic. Issues ranging from associate teacher subjugation, availability of resources, time constraints, and the need to address curriculum standards were the most commonly cited reasons for preservice teachers’ difficulty in creating an inquiry-based environment during their practicum. Implications are presented highlighting the importance of practicum experiences as a key determinant of pre-service science teachers’ emerging inquiry-based science views and practices.