Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 241–258 | Cite as

Development and Evaluation of an Inquiry-Based Elementary Science Teacher Education Program Reflecting Current Reform Movements

  • Gail R. Luera
  • Charlotte A. Otto


The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council 1996, National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press) and various other national and state documents call for teachers who possess science content knowledge, employ an inquiry approach in teaching, and engage in reflective practices. This paper describes a rationale for choosing particular recommendations to implement and how we incorporated those as we revised our elementary science education program. An analysis of the impact of the reformed inquiry-based content courses revealed that students who take more than one reformed content course improve their science content knowledge and efficacy towards teaching science significantly more than students who take fewer courses.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abdal-Haqq, I. (1998). Constructivism in teacher education: Considerations for those who would link practice to theory. (ERIC Digest No. ED 426 986.) Retrieved on June 1, 2004, from databases/ERIC_Digests/ed426986.html.
  2. Abell, L., & Bryan, S. (1997). Development of professional knowledge in learning to teach elementary science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 121–139.Google Scholar
  3. American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1989). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press. [Electronic version]
  4. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell, G. L. (2001, March). Reflective journal writing in an inquiry-based science course for elementary preservice teachers. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research on Science Teaching, St Louis, MO.Google Scholar
  6. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1996). Learning to teach. In R. C. Calfee & D. Berliner (Eds.), Handbook on educational psychology (pp. 673–708). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn (expanded version). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bryan, L. A., & Abell, S. K. (1999). Development of professional knowledge in learning to teach elementary science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 121–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cantrell, P., Young, S., & Moore, A. (2003). Factors affecting science-teaching efficacy of preservice elementary teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 14, 177–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carr, W., & Kemmis, S. (1988). Becoming critical: Education, knowledge and action research. Philadelphia: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  11. Collier, S. T. (1999). Characteristics of reflective thought during the student teaching experience. Journal of Teacher Education, 50, 173–181.Google Scholar
  12. diSessa, A. (1993). Toward an epistemology of physics. Cognition and Instruction, 10, 105–225.Google Scholar
  13. Enochs, L. G., & Riggs, I. M. (1990). Further development of an elementary science teaching efficacy belief instrument: A preservice elementary scale. School Science and Mathematics, 90, 694–706.Google Scholar
  14. Etkina, E. (2000). Weekly reports: A two-way feedback tool. Science Education, 84, 594–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Etkina, E., & Harper, K. A. (2002). Weekly reports: Student reflections on learning. Journal of College Science Teaching, 31, 476–480.Google Scholar
  16. Gess-Newsome, J. (1999). Knowledge and beliefs about subject matter. In J. G. Gess-Newsome & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Examining pedagogical content knowledge: The construct and its implications for science education (pp. 59–94). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Gess-Newsome, J., Southerland, S. A., Johnston, A., & Woodbury, S. (2003). Educational reform, personal practical theories, and dissatisfaction: The anatomy of change in college science teaching. American Educational Research Journal, 40, 731–767.Google Scholar
  18. Goodnough, K. (2001). Teacher development through action research: A case study of an elementary teacher. Action in Teacher Education, 23(1), 37–46.Google Scholar
  19. Guzzetti, B., Taylor, T. E., Glass, G. V., & Gamas, W. S. (1993). Promoting conceptual change in science: A comparative meta-analysis of instructional interventions from reading education and science education. Reading Research Quarterly, 28, 117–159.Google Scholar
  20. Hart, E., & Robottom, I. (1990). The science technology-society movement in science education: A critique of the reform process. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 27, 575–588.Google Scholar
  21. Jehlen, A. (2001). An open secret [Electronic version]. NEAToday Online, 19(8). Retrieved February 2, 2004, from
  22. Kronberg, R. (1999). Teacher efficacy in heterogeneous fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms: Weaving teachers’ practices and perspectives. University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 429 385).Google Scholar
  23. Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P. W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. E. (1998). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  24. Marshall, J. A., & Dorward, J. T. (2000). Inquiry experiences as a lecture supplement for preservice elementary teachers and general education students. Physics Education Research, American Journal of Physics Supplement, 68, S27–S36.Google Scholar
  25. May, D. B., & Etkina, E. (2002). College physics students’ epistemological self-reflection and its relationship to conceptual learning. American Journal of Physics, 70, 1249–1258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McDevitt, T. M., Heikkinen, H. W., Alcorn, J. K., Ambrosio, A. L., & Gardner, A. P. (1993). Evaluation of the preparation of teachers in science and mathematics: Assessment of preservice teachers’ attitudes and beliefs. Science Education, 77, 593–610.Google Scholar
  27. Michigan Department of Education. (2000a). Michigan curriculum framework-science benchmarks. Retrieved June 8, 2004, from documents/Updated_Science_Benchmarks_27030_7.pdf.
  28. Michigan Department of Education. (2000b). Michigan Educational Assessment Program, High School Test Science: Model of the assessment. Retrieved June 3, 2004, from
  29. Michigan Federation of Teachers & School Related Personnel. (January 13, 2003). Political action: It’s about the issues! Retrieved May 18, 2004, from
  30. National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  31. Piburn, M., & Sawada, D. (n.d.). Reformed teaching observation protocol (RTOP) reference manual (ACEPT Tech. Rep. IN00-3). Phoenix: Arizona State University, Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers.Google Scholar
  32. Renner, J. W., Abraham, M. R., & Birnie, H. H. (1988). The necessity of each phase of the learning cycle in teaching high-school physics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 25, 39–58.Google Scholar
  33. Richardson, V. (1997). Constructivist teaching and teacher education: Theory and practice. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Constructivist teacher education: Building new understandings (pp. 3–14). Washington, DC: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  34. Ross, J., Rolheiser, C., & Hogaboam-Gray, A. (1998). Skills training versus action research in-service: Impact on student attitudes to self-evaluation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14, 463–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sawada, D., Piburn, M., Judson, E., Turley, J., Falconer, K., Benford, R., & Bloom, I. (2002). Measuring reform practices in science and mathematics classrooms: The reformed teaching observation protocol. School Science and Mathematics, 102, 245–253.Google Scholar
  36. Smylie, M. (1990). Teacher efficacy at work. In P. Reyes (Ed.), Teachers and their workplace (pp. 48–66). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Sottile, J., Carter, W., & Watson, G. (2001, February). Increasing science achievement and student development as related to practicing teachers’ self-efficacy. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association, Hilton Head, SC.Google Scholar
  38. Sunal, D., Sunal, C., Whitaker, K., Freeman, L., Odell, M., Hodges, J., et al. (2001). Faculty professional development and barriers to change. School Science and Mathematics, 101, 246–257.Google Scholar
  39. Tabachnick, B., & Zeichner, K. (1999). Idea and action: Action research and the development of conceptual change teaching of science. Science Education, 83, 309–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tien, L.T., Roth, V., & Kampmeier, J.A. (2002). Implementation of a peer-led learning instructional approach in an undergraduate organic chemistry course. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 606–632.Google Scholar
  41. Tobin, K., Briscoe, C., & Holman, J. R. (1990). Overcoming constraints to effective elementary teaching. Science Education, 74, 409–420.Google Scholar
  42. Traik, T. (2000). The impact of prior course experience and achievement on the science teaching self-efficacy of preservice elementary teachers. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 12(2), 21–31.Google Scholar
  43. University of Michigan-Dearborn. (n.d.) Teaching for understanding. Retrieved June 1, 2004, from
  44. van Zee, E. (1998). Fostering elementary teachers research on their science practices. Journal of Teacher Education, 49, 245–254.Google Scholar
  45. Van Heuvelen, A. (1991). Learning to think like a physicist: A review of research-based instructional strategies. American Journal of Physics, 59, 891–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 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
  47. Wyckoff, S. (2001). Changing the culture of undergraduate science teaching. Journal of College Science Teaching, 30, 306–312.Google Scholar
  48. Yerrick, R. K., & Hoving, T. J. (2003). One foot on the dock and one foot on the boat: Differences among preservice science teachers’ interpretations of field-based science methods in culturally diverse contexts. Science Education, 87, 390–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Young, B. J., & Kellogg, T. (1993). Science attitudes and preparation of preservice elementary teachers. Science Education, 77, 279–291.Google Scholar
  50. Zeichner, K., & Tabachnick, R. (1981). Are the effects of university teacher education washed out by school experience? Journal of Teacher Education, 32, 7–11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gail R. Luera
    • 1
  • Charlotte A. Otto
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of Michigan-DearbornDearbornU.S.A.
  2. 2.College of Arts, Sciences, and LettersUniversity of Michigan-DearbornDearbornU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations