Research in Science Education

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 69-88

First online:

Educating science teachers for the sociocultural diversity of urban schools

  • Kenneth TobinAffiliated withGraduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Gale SeilerAffiliated withGraduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Mackenzie W. SmithAffiliated withGraduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

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This interpretive study of the preparation of science teachers for urban high schools explored the extent to which learning to teach was facilitated by the methods courses, cooperating teachers and university supervisors. Because the methods course was minimally effective in addressing the needs of teaching low track students from conditions of poverty the methods instructor, Tobin, decided to be a teacher-researcher with such students. He joined Smith, a student teacher and Seiler, a doctoral student, in an investigation that examined learning to teach in a graduate teacher preparation program. In an endeavour to gain a first hand grasp on the challenges of teaching African American students placed in a low track program of study the three authors of this paper co-taught science in an urban high school. The paper incorporates rich perspectives gained from the teacher-researchers and theoretical frameworks associated with resistance, habitus and learning to teach by co-teaching. The paper advocates co-teaching as an essential component of teacher education programs.