Preservice teachers’ thinking within a research-based framework: what informs decisions?

  • Joanne K. OlsonEmail author


A research-based framework for teaching science is a heuristic tool used to help preservice teachers conceptualize many complexities of teaching while making explicit the strategy to use a research-based body of professional knowledge to inform instructional decision-making (Clough, 2003, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science, St. Louis, MO). Elementary preservice teachers frequently struggle to apply this knowledge to classroom decisions (Madsen, 2002, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North Central Association for the Education of Teachers of Science, Bettendorf, IA). This study examined the effects of using a video case-analysis within an elementary science methods course focused on the development of a research-based framework. Students in two course sections completed a unit plan, and students in one section completed the video analysis. Video analysis students’ performance on an oral defense with the instructor was compared with oral defense performance from students in the unit plan group. Video analysis students outperformed their peers on questions related to how learning theories influence decisions of selecting content, explaining the use of questioning, and the use of self assessment strategies. Despite these differences, students in both groups still perceive teaching as primarily accomplished through activities and have difficulties understanding the critical role of the teacher in promoting student goals. This study raises issues regarding teachers’ knowledge development during preservice experiences.


elementary teacher preparation knowledge development teachers’ decision-making teachers’ knowledge 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abell, S.K., Bryan, L.A. & Anderson, M.A. (1998). Investigating preservice elementary science teacher reflective thinking using integrated media case-based instruction in elementary science teacher preparation. Science Education, 82, 491–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, R.D. (2002). Reforming science teaching: What research says about inquiry. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Appleton, K. (2006). Science pedagogical content knowledge and elementary school teachers. In Appleton, K. (Ed.), Elementary science teacher education: International perspectives on contemporary issues and practice (pp. 31–54). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  4. Berliner, D.C. (1988). Implications of studies on expertise in pedagogy for teacher education and evaluation. In New directions for teacher assessment, Proceedings of the 1988 ETC invitational conference (pp. 39–68). Princeton, NJ: Education Testing Service.Google Scholar
  5. Bogdan, R.C. & Biklen, S.K. (1992). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods, 2nd edn. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  6. Borko, H. & Putnam, R.T. (1996). Learning to teach. In Berliner, D.C. & Calfee, R.C. (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 709–725). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. Bryan, L.A. & Abell, S.K. (1999). Development of professional knowledge in learning to teach elementary science. Journal of Research in Science and Teaching, 36, 121–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bryan, L.A. & Atwater, M.M. (2002). Teacher beliefs and cultural models: A challenge for science teacher preparation programs. Science Education, 86, 821–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bullough, R.V. Jr. (1987). Planning and the first year of teaching. Journal of Education for Teaching, 13, 231–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Calderhead, J. (1996). Teachers: Beliefs and knowledge. In Berliner, D.C. & Calfee, R.C. (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 709–725). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Calderhead, J. & Shorrock, S.B. (1997). Understanding teacher education. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  12. Carter, K. (1990). Teachers’ knowledge and learning to teach. In Houston, W.R. (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp 291–310). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Clough, M.P. (2003, January). Structure of a secondary science methods course reflecting and promoting a research-based framework. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Education. St. Louis, MO.Google Scholar
  14. Clough, M.P. & Berg, C.A. (1995). Preparing and hiring exemplary science teachers. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 31, 80–89.Google Scholar
  15. Clough, M.P. & Kauffman, K.J. (1999). Improving engineering education: A research-based framework for teaching. Journal of Engineering Education, 88, 527–534.Google Scholar
  16. Cochran-Smith, M. (1991). Learning to teach against the grain. Harvard Educational Review, 61, 279–310.Google Scholar
  17. Duschl, R.A. & Gitomer, D.H. (1997). Strategies and challenges to changing the focus of assessment and instruction in science classrooms. Educational Assessment, 4, 37–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eisenhart, M., Behm, L. & Romagnano, L. (1991). Learning to teach: Developing expertise or rite of passage? Journal of Education for Teaching, 17, 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Feiman-Nemser, S. & Floden, R.E. (1986). The cultures of teaching. In Wittrock, M.C. (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching, 3rd edn. (pp 505–526). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Fessler, R. (1995). Dynamics of teacher career stages. In Guskey, T.R. & Huberman, M. (Eds.), Professional development in education (pp. 171–192). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  21. Fullan, M.G. (1996). Turning systemic thinking on its head. Phi Delta Kappan, 77, 420–423.Google Scholar
  22. Fuller, F.F. (1969). Concerns of teachers: A developmental conceptualization. American Educational Research Journal, 6, 207–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fuller, F.F. & Bown, O.H. (1975). Becoming a teacher. In Ryan, K. (Ed.), Teacher education (74th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, part II) (pp. 25–52). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Glasser, B. (1978). Theoretical sensitivity: Advances in the methodology of grounded theory. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.Google Scholar
  25. Goodlad, J.I. (1983). A summary of a study of schooling: Some findings and hypotheses. Phi Delta Kappan, 64, 52–57.Google Scholar
  26. Goodlad, J.I. (1984). A place called school: Prospects for the future. New York: McGraw-Hil.Google Scholar
  27. Grossman, P.L. (1992). Why models matter: An alternate view on professional growth in teaching. Review of Educational Research, 62, 171–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hall, G.E. & Hord, S.M. (1987). Change in schools: Facilitating the process. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  29. Holt-Reynolds, D. (1992). Personal history-based beliefs as relevant prior knowledge in coursework: Can we practice what we teach? American Educational Research Journal, 29, 325–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hollingsworth, S. (1989). Prior beliefs and cognitive change in learning to teach. American Educational Research Journal, 26, 160–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huberman, M. (1995). Professional careers and professional development. In Guskey, T.R. & Huberman, M. (Eds.), Professional development in education (pp. 193–224). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  32. Isaac, S. & Michael, W.B. (1981). Handbook in research and evaluation, 2nd edn. San Diego: Edits Publishers.Google Scholar
  33. Kagan, D.M. (1992). Professional growth among preservice and beginning teachers. Review of Educational Research, 62, 129–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kagan, D.M. & Tippins, D.J. (1991). How student teachers describe their pupils. Teaching and Teacher Education, 7, 455-466.Google Scholar
  35. Krajcik, J.S., Penick, J.E. & Yager, R.E. (1986, March). An evaluation of the University of Iowa’s science teacher education program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  36. Krajcik, J.S., Blumenfeld, P.C., Marx, R.W. & Soloway, E. (1994). A collaborative model for helping middle grade science teachers learn project-based instruction. Elementary School Journal, 94, 499–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Madsen, A.J. (2002, October). Problem-based learning in context: A qualitative analysis of preservice elementary teachers’ conceptions of teaching and learning. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North Central Association for the Education of Teachers of Science. Bettendorf, IA.Google Scholar
  38. Madsen, A.J. & Olson, J.K. (2005). Student teachers’ use of learning theories to diagnose children’s learning difficulties. Journal of Elementary Science Educational, 17, 55–68.Google Scholar
  39. Munby, H., Russell, T. & Martin, A.K. (2001). Teachers’ knowledge and how it develops. In: Richardson, V. (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching, 4th edn. American Educational Research Association (pp. 877–904). Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  40. National Research Council (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  41. Numedahl, P.J. & Clough, M.P. (2001, March). Conceptions of learning and teaching expressed by students at two stages in their preservice program. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Conference. St. Louis, MO, March 25–28.Google Scholar
  42. Ohana, C. (1999). A tangled web: Interactions and structures in university-school collaborations. PhD dissertation, Iowa State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  43. Olson, J.K. & Appleton, K. (2006). Considering curriculum for elementary science methods courses. In Appleton, K. (Ed.), Elementary science teacher education (pp. 127–152). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  44. Pajares, M. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs in educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review Educational Research, 62, 307–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Penick, J.E. (1988). Building a research-based model science teacher education program. ED 294723. ERIC document reproduction service, Springfield, VA.Google Scholar
  46. Penick, J.E. & Bonnstetter, R.J. (1989). Appropriate preservice teacher education. Education and Urban Society, 22, 64–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Richardson, V. (1996). The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. In Sikula, J., Buttery, T.J. & Guyton, E. (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education, 2nd edn. (pp. 102–119). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.Google Scholar
  48. Ryan, K. (1986). The induction of new teachers. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  49. Schmidt, W., McKnight, C., Cogan, L., Jakwerth, P. & Houang, R. (1999). Facing the consequences: Using TIMSS for a closer look at US mathematics and science education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Skamp, K. & Mueller, A. (2001). A longitudinal study of the influences of primary and secondary school, university and practicum on student teachers’ images of effective primary science practice. International Journal of Science Education, 23, 227–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  52. Tobin, K., Briscoe, C. & Holman, J.R. (1990). Overcoming constraints to effective elementary science teaching. Science Education, 74, 409–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Uhlenbeck, A.M., Verloop, N. & Beijaard, D. (2002). Requirements for an assessment procedure for beginning teachers: Implications from recent theories on teaching and assessment. Teachers College Record, 104, 242–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Veronesi, P.D. & Varrella, G.F. (1999, March). Building a sound rationale for teaching among preservice teacher candidates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  55. Viennot, L. (1979). Spontaneous reasoning in elementary dynamics. European Journal of Science Education, 1, 205–221.Google Scholar
  56. Weiss, I.R., Pasley, J.D., Smith, P.S., Banilower, E.R. & Heck, D.J. (2003). Looking inside the classroom: A study of K-12 mathematics and science education in the United States. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research Inc.Google Scholar
  57. Windschitl, M. (2005). The future of science teacher preparation in America: Where is the evidence to inform program design and guide responsible policy decisions? Science Education, 89, 525–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zeichner, K.M. & Liston, D.P. (1987). Teaching student teachers to reflect. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 23–48.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Iowa State University AmesUSA

Personalised recommendations