Advertisement

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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

References

  1. Alsop, S., & Ibrahim, S. (2008). Visual journeys in critical place based science education. In Y-J. Lee, & A-K. Tan (Eds.), Science education at the nexus of theory and practice (pp. 291–303). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Ball, D. (2001). Teaching, with respect to mathematics and students. In T. Wood, B. Scott Nelson, & J. Warfield (Eds.), Beyond classical pedagogy: Teaching elementary school mathematics (pp. 11–26). London: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Baxter Magolda, M. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender–related patterns in students’ intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. Bell, P., Lewenstein, B. V., Shouse, A. W., & Feder, M. A. (Eds.). (2009). Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. (advance copy). Washington, DC: National Research Council of the National Academies.Google Scholar
  6. Bencze, L., Bowen, G. M., & Alsop, S. (2006). Teachers’ tendencies to promote student-led science projects: Associations with their views about science. Science Education, 90, 400–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brett, C., Nason, R., & Woodruff, E. (2002). Communities of inquiry among pre-service teachers investigating mathematics. THEMES in Education, 3(1), 39–62.Google Scholar
  8. Brew, C. (2001). Women, mathematics and epistemology: An integrated framework. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 5(1), 15–32.Google Scholar
  9. Brewer, J., & Hunter, A. (1989). Multimethod research. A synthesis of styles. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Brickhouse, N. (2001). Embodying science: A feminist perspective on learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(3), 282–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buluniz, M., & Jarrett, O. S. (2010). Developing an interest in science: Background experiences of pre-service elementary teachers. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 5(1), 65–84.Google Scholar
  12. Bursal, M. (2008). Changes in Turkish pre-service teachers’ personal science teaching efficacy, beliefs and science anxieties during a science methods course. Journal of Turkish Science Education., 5(1), 99–112.Google Scholar
  13. Capobianco, B., Lincoln, S., Canuel-Browne, D., & Trimarchi, R. (2006). Examining the experiences of three generations of teacher researcher through collaborative science teacher inquiry. Teacher Education Quarterly, Summer, 2006, 61–78.Google Scholar
  14. Carr, W., & Kemmis, S. (1986). Becoming critical: Education knowledge and action research. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  15. Carrol, J. (1994). What makes a person mathsphobic? A case study investigating affective, cognitive and social aspects of a trainee teacher’ s mathematical understanding and thinking. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 6, 131–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Davis, R., Maher, C., & Noddings, N. (Eds.) (1990). Constructivist views on the teaching and learning of mathematics (pp. 125–146). (Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Mongraph No. 4). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.Google Scholar
  18. DeWitt, J., & Hohenstein, J. (2010). School trips and classroom lessons. An investigation into teacher-student talk in two settings. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(4), 454–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gresham, G. (2008). Mathematics anxiety and mathematics teacher efficacy in elementary pre-service teachers. Teaching Education, 19(3), 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). The best of both worlds: A critical pedagogy of place. Educational Researcher, 32(4), 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gruenewald, D., & Smith, G. (2008). Place-based education in the global age. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates.Google Scholar
  22. Harmer, J. (2002). The practice of english language teaching. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  23. Hodson, D. (1999). Going beyond cultural pluralism: Science education for sociopolitical action. Science Education, 83(6), 775–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hodson, D. (2003). Time for action: Science education for an alternative future. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 645–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hsu, P. L., & Roth, W. M. (2009). An analysis of teacher discourse that introduces real science activities to high school students. Research in Science Education, 39, 553–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson, R. B., & Onwuegbuzi, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Krapp, A. (2004). Interest and human development: An educational-psychological perspective [Monograph Series II]. British Journal of Educational Psychology, Part 2 (Development and motivation), 57–84.Google Scholar
  28. Lee, H. S., & Songer, N. B. (2003). Making authentic science accessible to students. International Journal of Science Education, 25(8), 923–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lemke, J. (1990). Talking science: Language learning and values. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corp.Google Scholar
  30. Levine, G. (1995). Closing the gender gap: Focus on mathematics anxiety. Contemporary Education, 67(1), 42–45.Google Scholar
  31. Levine, G. (1996). Variability in anxiety for teaching mathematics among pre-service elementary school teachers enrolled in a mathematics course. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 12, 1996, New York, NY. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 398 067).Google Scholar
  32. Lieberman, G. A., & Hoody, L. L. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. Results of a nationwide study. San Diego: State Education and Environment Roundtable.Google Scholar
  33. Llewellyn, D. (2009). Inquire within: Implementing inquiry-based science standards in grade 3–8. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Pub.Google Scholar
  34. Lotter, C., Harwood, W. S., & Bonner, J. J. (2007). The influence of core teaching conceptions on teachers’ use of inquiry teaching practices. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(9), 1318–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Louv, R. (2005). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.Google Scholar
  36. Ma, L. P. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: Teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  37. Mallow, J., Kastrup, H., Bryant, F., Hislop, N., Shefner, R., & Udo, M. (2010). Science anxiety, science attitudes, and gender: Interviews from a binational study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 19(4), 356–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Manfra, M. M. (2009). The middle ground in action research: Integrating practical and critical inquiry. Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 3(1), 32–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McFague, S. (1993). An earthly theological agenda. In J. Carol (Ed.), Ecofeminism and the sacred (pp. 84–98). New York: The Continuum Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  40. McGee, A., & Lawrence, A. (2009). Teacher educators inquiring into their own practice. Professional Development in Education, 35(1), 139–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ministry of Education of Ontario. (2007). Science: The Ontario curriculum grades 1–8 revised. Toronto, Canada: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.Google Scholar
  42. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1989). Curriculum and evaluation standards. Reston, VA: Author.Google Scholar
  43. Nielsen, W. S., Nashon, S., & Anderson, D. (2009). Metacognitive engagement during field-trip experiences: A case study of students in an amusement park physics program. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(3), 265–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pedretti, E. (2003). Teaching science, technology, society and environment (STSE) education: Preservice teachers’ philosophical and pedagogical landscapes. In D. Zeidler (Ed.), The Role of moral reasoning and socioscientific discourse in science education (pp. 219–239). Dortecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pedretti, E. (2004). Perspectives on learning through research on critical issues-based science center exhibitions. Science Education, 88(Supplement 1), S34–S47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pedretti, E., & Hodson, D. (1995). From rhetoric to action: Implementing STS education through action research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32(5), 463–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pedretti, E., & Little, C. (2008). From engagement to empowerment: Reflection on science education for Ontario. Toronto, Canada: Pearson Education Canada.Google Scholar
  48. Perry, W. (1970). Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years: A scheme. NewYork: Holt Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  49. Pizzini, E. L., Shepardon, D. P., & Abell, S. K. (1991). The Inquiry level of junior high activities: Implications to science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(2), 111–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Richmond, G., Howes, E., Kurth, L., & Hazelwood, C. (1998). Connections and critique: Feminist pedagogy and science teacher education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(8), 897–918.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rosas, C., & West, M. (2011). Pre-Service teachers’ perception and beliefs of readiness to teach mathematics. Current Issues in Education, 14(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  52. Roth, W. M. (1995). Authentic school science: Knowing and learning in open-inquiry science laboratories. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Roth, W. F., & Bowen, G. M. (1993). An investigation of problem framing and solving in a grade 8 open inquiry science program. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(2), 165–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Russell, C. L., & Bell, A. C. (1996). A politicized ethic of care: Environmental education from an ecofeminist perspective. In K. Warren (Ed.), Women’s voices in experiential education (pp. 172–181). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  55. Russell, C., & Dillon, J. (2010). Environmental education and STEM education: New times, new alliances? Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 10(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sammel, A. (2006). Finding the crack in everything: Exploring the causal promise in science education. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 6(4), 325–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schon, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith.Google Scholar
  58. Schwartz, R. S. (2000). Achieving the reforms vision: The effectiveness of a specialists-led elementary science program. School Science and Mathematics, 100(4), 181–193.Google Scholar
  59. Shiva, V. (1997). Biopiracy: The plunder of nature and knowledge. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.Google Scholar
  60. Sobel, D. (2004). Place-based education: Connecting classrooms & communities. Great Barrington, MA: Orion Society.Google Scholar
  61. Squire, K., & Jan, M. F. (2007). Mad city mystery: Developing scientific argumentation skills with a place-based augmented reality game on handheld computers. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  63. Swennen, A., & Bates, T. (2010). The professional development of teacher educators. Professional Development in Education, 36(1–2), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Taylor, N., & Corrigan, G. (2005). Empowerment and confidence: Pre-service teachers learning to teach science through and program of self-regulated learning. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 5(1), 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard.Google Scholar
  66. Wong, D., Pugh, K., & Dewey Ideas Group at Michigan State University. (2001). Learning science: A Deweyan perspective. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(3), 317–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yuruk, N. (2011). The predictors of pre-service elementary teachers’ anxiety about teaching science. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 10(1), 17–26.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations