Journal of Elementary Science Education

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 35–48 | Cite as

The effects of outdoor science lessons with elementary school students on preservice teachers’ self-efficacy

  • Sarah J. Carrier


Teachers’ self-efficacy develops based on their appraisal of their experience with a task or similar tasks. Elementary science education should provide opportunities for students to experience science learning opportunities in authentic settings. This retrospective study describes one example of preservice teachers teaching elementary school students environmental science lessons in the outdoors during their science methods course. The preservice teachers’ recognition of the students’ enthusiasm and excitement of learning science in the outdoors positively impacted their confidence level as future teachers of science and helped them recognize the potential for using the outdoor setting as an effective location for science instruction.


Preservice Teacher Science Teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge Teacher Education Program Elementary Science 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abell, S., & Roth, M. (1991).Coping with constraints of teaching elementary science: A case study of a science enthusiast student teacher. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Lake Geneva, WI. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED340607)Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, A., & McDuffie, A. (2002, January). The elementary science teacher as researcher. InProceedings of the Annual International Conference of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science. Charlotte, NC.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1997).Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  4. Buethe, C., & Smallwood, J. (1987). Teachers’ environmental literacy: Check and recheck, 1975 and 1985.The Journal of Environmental Education, 18(3), 39–42.Google Scholar
  5. Bursal, M., & Paznokas, L. (2006). Mathematics anxiety and preservice elementary teachers’ confidence to teach mathematics and science.School, Science, and Mathematics, 106(4), 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Butts, D., Hofman, H., & Anderson, M. (1994). Is direct experience enough: A study of young children’s views of sounds.Journal of Elementary Science Education, 6(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cannon, J., & Scharmann, L. (1996). Influence of a cooperative early field experience on preservice elementary teachers’ science self efficacy.Science Education, 80, 419–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carrier-Martin, S. (2003). The influence of outdoor schoolyard experiences on students’ environmental knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and comfort levels.Journal of Elementary Science Education, 15(2), 51–63.Google Scholar
  9. Chun, S., & Oliver, J. (2000, January).A quantitative examination of teacher self efficacy and knowledge of the nature of science. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science, Akron, OH.Google Scholar
  10. Coffey, A., & Atkinson, P. (1996).Making sense of qualitative data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  11. Cronin-Jones, L. (2000). The effectiveness of schoolyards as sites for elementary science instruction.School Science and Mathematics, 100(4), 203–212.Google Scholar
  12. Ferry, B. (1995). Enhancing environmental experiences through effective partnerships among teacher educators, field study centers, and schools.Journal of Experiential Education, 18, 133–137.Google Scholar
  13. Gabriel, N. (1996).Teach ouu teachers well: Strategies to integrate environmental education into teacher education programs. Boston: Second Nature. (ERIC/SMEAC Document Reproduction Service No. ED401104)Google Scholar
  14. Ginns, I., & Watters, J. (1998).Beginning teachers’ professional growth: Confronting the challenge of teaching elementary school science. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  15. Hammerman, D., Hammerman, W., & Hammerman, E. (1985).Teaching in the outdoors. Danville, IL: Interstate Printers & Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Irvin, T. (2007). Nature lessons.Educational Leadership, 64(8), 54–56.Google Scholar
  17. Jarrett, O. (1999). Science interest and confidence among preservice elementary teachers.Journal of Elementary Science Education, 11(1), 49–59.Google Scholar
  18. Kelly, J. (2000). Rethinking the elementary science methods course: A case for content, pedagogy, and informal science education.International Journal of Science Education, 22, 755–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lakin, L. (2006). Science beyond the classroom.Journal of Biological Education, 40(2), 89–90.Google Scholar
  20. Lee, E., Brown, M., Luft, J., & Roehrig, G. (2007). Assessing beginning science teachers’ PCK: Pilot year results.School, Science, and Mathematics, 107(2), 52–60.Google Scholar
  21. Moseley, C., Reinke, K., & Bookout, V. (2002). The effect of teaching outdoor environmental education on preservice teachers’ attitudes toward self-efficacy and outcome expectancy.The Journal of Environmental Education, 34(1), 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. National Research Council (NRC). (1996).National science education standards (NSES). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  23. Posnanski, T. (2002). Professional development programs for elementary science teachers: An analysis of teacher self-efficacy beliefs and a professional development model.Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13, 189–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ross, J., & Bruce, C. (2007). Professional development effects on teacher efficacy: Results of a randomized field trial.The Journal of Educational Research, 101(1), 50–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schmidt, K. (1996). Green education under fire.Science, 274, 1828–1830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform.Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1–27.Google Scholar
  27. Simmons, D. (1998). Using natural settings for environmental education: Perceived benefits and barriers.The Journal of Environmental Education, 29, 31–33.Google Scholar
  28. Smith-Sebasto, N., & Smith, T. (1997). Environmental education in Illinois and Wisconsin: A tale of two states.The Journal of Environmental Education, 29, 23–31.Google Scholar
  29. Stamp, N., & O’Brien, T. (2005). GK-12 partnership: A model to advance change in science education.Bioscience, 55(1), 70–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tilgner, E. (1990). Avoiding science in the elementary school.Science Education, 74(4), 421–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk Hoy, A., & Hoy, W. (1998). Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and measure.Review of Educational Research, 68, 202–248.Google Scholar
  32. Watters, J., & Ginns, I. (2000). Developing motivation to teach elementary science: Effect of collaborative and authentic learning practices in preservice education.Journal of Science Teacher Education, 11, 301–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Weiss, I. R. (1997). The status of science and mathematics teaching in the United States: Comparing teacher views and classroom practice to national standards.National Institute for Science Education Brief,1(3). Retrieved March 31, 2009, from Scholar
  34. Wingfield, M., & Ramsey, J. (1999, January).Improving science teaching self-efficacy of elementary preservice teachers. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science, Austin, TX.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh

Personalised recommendations