Teaching Across Subject Boundaries in STEM: Continuities in Beliefs about Learning and Teaching

  • Colleen ValeEmail author
  • Coral Campbell
  • Christopher Speldewinde
  • Pennie White


This study explored the teaching and learning beliefs of qualified (in-field) secondary science teachers who were teaching mathematics out-of-field that is, without qualification. The relationship between secondary teachers’ beliefs about their in-field subject—science and their out-of-field subject—mathematics was examined. The theory of boundary crossing and frameworks of beliefs about science and mathematics teaching and learning were used to explore continuities of beliefs when crossing disciplinary boundaries to teach mathematics out-of-field. Individual semi-structured interviews and video-stimulated interviews were used to collect data about teachers’ beliefs and teaching practice for science and mathematics. Continuity of beliefs across science and mathematics was more likely when teachers held traditional beliefs about science. Continuity of non-traditional beliefs about learning and teaching science and mathematics was less likely, though some teachers did show evidence of beginning to adopt, or exhibit a desire to learn more about, constructivist approaches to teaching mathematics.


Beliefs Boundary crossing Constructivist beliefs Out-of-field teaching Platonist beliefs 



The authors wish to acknowledge fellow researchers: Ass. Prof. Linda Hobbs (lead investigator, Deakin University), Dr. Frances Quinn (University of New England), Ass. Prof. Terry Lyons (Queensland University of Technology) and Prof. Russell Tytler (Deakin University).

Funding information

The findings reported in this article arise from a Discovery Grant funded by the Australian Research Council: Out-of-field Teaching: Sustaining Quality Practices Across Subjects.


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Deakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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