Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 111–131 | Cite as

Our Practice, Their Readiness: Teacher Educators Collaborate to Explore and Improve Preservice Teacher Readiness for Science and Math Instruction

  • Astrid SteeleEmail author
  • Christine Brew
  • Carol Rees
  • Sheliza Ibrahim-Khan


Since many preservice teachers (PTs) display anxiety over teaching math and science, four PT educators collaborated to better understand the PTs’ background experiences and attitudes toward those subjects. The research project provided two avenues for professional learning: the data collected from the PTs and the opportunity for collaborative action research. The mixed method study focused on: the relationship between gender and undergraduate major (science versus non-science) with respect to previous and current engagement in science and math, understanding the processes of inquiry, and learning outside the classroom. A field trip to a science center provided the setting for the data collection. From a sample of 132 PTs, a multivariate analysis showed that the science major of PTs explained most of the gender differences with respect to the PTs’ attitudes toward science and mathematics. The process of inquiry is generally poorly interpreted by PTs, and non-science majors prefer a more social approach in their learning to teach science and math. The four educators/collaborators reflect on the impacts of the research on their individual practices, for example, the need to: include place-based learning, attend to the different learning strategies taken by non-science majors, emphasize social and environmental contexts for learning science and math, be more explicit regarding the processes of science inquiry, and provide out-of-classroom experiences for PTs. They conclude that the collaboration, though difficult at times, provided powerful opportunities for examining individual praxis.


Pre-service teacher science education Science and math anxiety Collaborative action research 


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Steele
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christine Brew
    • 1
  • Carol Rees
    • 2
  • Sheliza Ibrahim-Khan
    • 3
  1. 1.Nipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada
  2. 2.Thompson Rivers UniversityKamloopsCanada
  3. 3.Trent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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