Research in Science Education

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 289–305 | Cite as

‘You Have to Give Them Some Science Facts’: Primary Student Teachers’ Early Negotiations of Teacher Identities in the Intersections of Discourses About Science Teaching and About Primary Teaching



In the broadest sense, the goal for primary science teacher education could be described as preparing these teachers to teach for scientific literacy. Our starting point is that making such science teaching accessible and desirable for future primary science teachers is dependent not only on their science knowledge and self-confidence, but also on a whole range of interrelated sociocultural factors. This paper aims to explore how intersections between different Discourses about primary teaching and about science teaching are evidenced in primary school student teachers’ talk about becoming teachers. The study is founded in a conceptualisation of learning as a process of social participation. The conceptual framework is crafted around two key concepts: Discourse (Gee 2005) and identity (Paechter, Women’s Studies International Forum, 26(1):69–77, 2007). Empirically, the paper utilises semi-structured interviews with 11 primary student teachers enrolled in a 1-year Postgraduate Certificate of Education course. The analysis draws on five previously identified teacher Discourses: ‘Teaching science through inquiry’, ‘Traditional science teacher’, ‘Traditional primary teacher’, ‘Teacher as classroom authority’, and ‘Primary teacher as a role model’ (Danielsson and Warwick, International Journal of Science Education, 2013). It explores how the student teachers, at an early stage in their course, are starting to intersect these Discourses to negotiate their emerging identities as primary science teachers.


Primary teaching Science education Primary science Teacher education Identity Discourse 



This research was supported by a grant from the Swedish Research Council (dnr 2009-7182).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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