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Interaction Between Science Teaching Orientation and Pedagogical Content Knowledge Components

Abstract

The purpose of this case study is to delve into the complexities of how preservice science teachers’ science teaching orientations, viewed as an interrelated set of beliefs, interact with the other components of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Eight preservice science teachers participated in the study. Qualitative data were collected in the form of content representation, responses to an open-ended instrument, and semi-structured interviews. Preservice teachers’ orientation and PCK were analyzed deductively. Constant comparison analysis of how their orientation interacted with other PCK components revealed three major themes: (1) one’s purpose for science teaching determines the PCK component(s) with which it interacts, (2) a teacher’s beliefs about the nature of science do not directly interact with his/her PCK, unless those beliefs relate directly to the purposes of teaching science, and (3) beliefs about science teaching and learning mostly interact with knowledge of instructional strategies. Implications for science teacher education and research are discussed.

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Correspondence to Betül Demirdöğen.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Views About Science Teaching

1. PART: Goals or Purposes of Science Teaching (Friedrichsen et al., 2011)

  1. 1.

    What is the purpose of science education?

  2. 2.

    Why do you teach science?

  3. 3.

    What do students know and be able to do when they learn science? What is your purpose when you teach science? What can of knowledge and capabilities do your students achieve when you teach science to them?

  4. 4.

    What kind of instruction do you design to achieve your purposes and goals of science teaching?

2. PART: Science Teaching and Learning (Luft & Roehrig, 2007)

  1. 1.

    What is the role of teachers in science teaching?

  2. 2.

    What is the role of students in science teaching?

  3. 3.

    How should science teaching be? What is the best way to teach science? How do you assure that students learn science well?

3. PART: Translation of Orientation to Lesson Planning (CoRe)

  1. 1.

    How did you translate your purposes and goals for teaching science to your planning?

    1. (a)

      Did you purposefully consider that your objectives reflect your purposes and goals of science teaching?

    2. (b)

      Did you purposefully consider that your students’ difficulties and misconceptions related to your purposes and goals of teaching science?

    3. (c)

      What kind of instructional strategies did you use to achieve your purposes and goals of science teaching?

    4. (d)

      Did you specifically assess whether your students achieved your purposes and goals of science teaching?

Appendix 2

An Example of a Participant’s (Easter) Core

Science topic/content area: light Grade level: 4 Curriculum objectives to be addressed:
2. Regarding light sources, students
 (i) Observe that some objects emit light to their surroundings,
 (ii) Give examples of different light sources, and
 (iii) Classify light sources as natural and artificial
1. What concepts/big ideas do you intend students to learn? Concept and/or important idea #1: Concept and/or important idea #2:
Light Light source
2. What do you expect students to understand about this concept and be able to do as a result? Energy that helps us to see the objects in the dark is called light Everything that lightens its surrounding by emitting light is light source
We need light to be able to see (i.e., no light, no sight) An object that emits light by itself and is not produced by humans is called as natural light source
It gets harder to see the objects in dark An object that is produced by humans to see their surrounding and lightens in the dark is called as artificial light source
There are different light sources of which have different brightness Light sources are used after the sun goes down
The suns, star, and lightening are examples of natural light sources
Light bulb, candle, gaslight chandelier, and torch are artificial light sources
Students should be able to identify artificial and natural light sources by differentiating between the two
3. Why is it important for students to learn this concept? (Rationale) When students learn this topic, they can more meaningfully learn the following topics about light (i.e., enlightening technologies from past to present, the effect of enlightening technologies in our life, and light pollution) in the fourth grade, dispersion of light, interaction of light with matter, and shadow in fifth grade, reflection of light in the sixth grade, and absorption and refraction of light in seventh grade
Since students encounter light visually during their daily life, students should learn the concept of light When students learn this topic they will be able to use appropriately use light sources when they stay in dark
Students should learn the concept of light to meaningfully learn light sources
4. As a teacher, what should you know about this topic? As a teacher I should know the concepts of dark/ness and light and light sources. Also, I should review the curriculum to precisely learn about the objectives that I should achieve about the concepts I am teaching and to construct vertical and horizontal relations across topics and grades. In this plan, I focused on light sources. Therefore, I should know what students should have already learned about light and darkness beforehand. I should know the difficulties and misconceptions that students may have about darkness, light, and light sources. I should know different strategies to teach the concepts meaningfully and to eliminate the difficulties and misconceptions that students may have. I should know daily life examples
5. What difficulties do students typically have about each concept/idea? The concept of energy might be difficult for students to understand since they haven’t learned about it before If students do not learn the concept of light and dark/ness meaningfully they may have difficulty in understanding light sources
If students have dark/ness phobia it may be an obstacle for me to conduct the activities and for students to learn the concept Students may have difficulty in differentiating natural and artificial light sources
Students may confuse light reflection with emission of light
6. What misconceptions do students typically have about each concept/idea? Our eyes produce light so we can see things Objects that reflect are sources of light (e.g., the Moon)
Light is not necessary to see since we can see a little in a dark room
7. Which teaching strategy and what specific activities might be useful for helping students develop an understanding of the concept? Predict–observe–explain activity will be used to teach the concept of light. Also, this activity will elicit students’ possible misconceptions (#1 Our eyes produce light so we can see things, #2 Light is not necessary to see since we can see a little in a dark room.) if any. During prediction phase students will be make a prediction about how they see an apple in dark. They will make choose a prediction among the several alternatives including students’ possible misconceptions. In the predict phase, students will be distributed an activity sheet, which is provided below: To teach light sources, first, I will ask students to give examples of light sources that we use in our daily life. Hence, I will elicit their misconceptions about light sources if any (i.e., Objects that reflect are sources of light (e.g., Moon)). I will get students’ answers and explanations by using an activity sheet, which is provided below
Apple in the dark Light sources in our life
Imagine you are sitting at a table with a red apple in front of you. Your friend closes the door and turns off all the lights. It is totally dark in the room. There are no windows in the room or cracks around the door. No light can enter the room. Circle the statement you believe best describes how you would see the apple in the dark: 1. Look at the pictures given below and circle the light sources on both pictures. Explain your choices
 A. You will not see the red apple, regardless of how long you are in the room Picture 1
 B. You will see the red apple after your eyes have had time to adjust to the darkness
 C. You will see the red apple after your eyes have has time to adjust to the darkness, but you will not see the red color Picture 2
 D. Our eyes produce light so we can see the apple in dark
 E. You will see only a faint outline of the apple after your eyes have had time to adjust the darkness
Describe your thinking. Provide an explanation of your answer
Give examples of light sources that do not take place in the pictures and explain why they are sources of light
After students completed their predictions by writing their explanations, I will conduct a whole class discussion on students’ alternative responses and hence elicit different misconceptions, if any. Then students will observe how they will see an apple in the dark. During observation phase, I enable students to make their observations in a completely dark place with no slightest amount of light. If I will not be able to find a complete dark place I will bring several black boxes including an apple in it and having a small hole on it to the class and make students observe the apple in the box. After students make their observations, I will ask them to compare their observations with their predictions and to provide an explanation if there is a match or mismatch. I conduct a whole class discussion to elicit students’ misconceptions about “light” and “seeing.” During this discussion I ask several questions such as “If our eyes produce light would not we able to see the apple in the box?” “When the lights are turned off in your room at night, is your room completely dark or is there a slight light coming from your surrounding?” “What does complete darkness mean?” “When you see the objects in dark is the environment completely dark or is there a light slightly coming from somewhere around you?” After students completed the activity sheet I will conduct a whole class discussion to elicit students’ conceptions about light source. Then I will explain the concept of light source by showing their pictures (i.e., sun, candle, light bulb, lightening, stars, gaslight chandelier, and torch). Explanation: Light source is the source that emits light to enlighten its surrounding. Also, I explain why the Moon is not a light source. Moon reflects the light that comes from the Sun and therefore it is not a light source. A light source should produce energy as light to be counted as light source. Reflecting the light coming from another source does not count to be a light source since the light is not produced rather it is reflected. I will ask students to explain whether the light source examples have the same characteristics in terms of emitting light or not. Hence, I elicit students’ conceptions about artificial and natural light sources. After taking students ideas about characteristics of light sources I will explain natural and artificial light sources by giving examples for each of them. Explanation: Sources that produce light by themselves are natural light sources such as the Sun, stars, and lightening. Manmade sources that produce light are artificial light sources such as candle, light bulb, gaslight chandelier, and torch
In the explanation phase, first of all, I will show some pictures (i.e., miners using headlights to see underground, cars with turned on lights in the dark, and lighthouse enlightening the see and environment for the sailors) where light is used to see the objects in the dark. I explain the concept of light by relating their experiences they get from the activity and their daily life. Explanation: Light is a kind of energy that helps us to see. When there is no light there is no sight. That is we are not able to see in the complete darkness. However, during night when we turned the lights off in our home we can see the objects since the environment is not completely dark. There is slight light coming from somewhere around us After explaining light sources, I will use a predict–observe–explain activity to elicit and overcome students’ difficulty (i.e., objects that reflect light sources). In the predict phase, I will ask students to identify the light source among several materials, such as a flashlight, aluminum foil, a metal spoon, a mirror, rubber, and newspaper. Also, I will ask them to explain their choices (i.e., why does each object behave as a light source or not?) Students may identify aluminum foil, metal spoon, and mirror as light source since they reflect light. In the observe phase, students will observe whether the objects produce light or reflect light. During observation, I will guide them by reminding the definition of light source and focusing on the question of would some objects (i.e., aluminum foil, metal spoon, and mirror) seem to produce light if you do not direct light on them using a flashlight. After observation phase, students will explain what they predict and what they observe. Then, I will explain the difference between natural light sources and light reflecting objects by having students watch a video
8. In what ways would you assess students’ understanding or confusion about this concept? Formative assessment: Formative assessment:
The activity sheet in the predict phase (Apple in the Dark) The activity sheet in the first predict phase (Light Sources in our Life)
The questions in the observe phase: The questions in the second predict phase
“If our eyes produce light would not we able to see the apple in the box?” Identify the light source among several materials, such as a flashlight, aluminum foil, a metal spoon, a mirror, rubber, and newspaper
“When the lights are turned off in your room at night, is your room completely dark or is there a slight light coming from your surrounding?” Why does each object behave as a light source or not? Explain
“What does complete darkness mean?”
“When you see the objects in dark is the environment completely dark or is there a light slightly coming from somewhere around you?”
Summative evaluation:
I will ask students to draw a concept map using the concepts of light, energy, light source, artificial, and natural by giving examples for light sources

Appendix 3

Coding Scheme

Orientation dimension Instance PCK component that interacted with orientation and its’ place in CoRe
Goals or purposes of science teaching If a preservice teachers attempts to teach his/her goals or purposes (e.g., scientific skill development) in his/her lesson by including objectives specific to these purposes (e.g., draw) in her lesson plan (i.e., CoRe) Knowledge of curriculum (Curriculum objectives to be addressed prompt and prompt 3 in CoRe)
Goals or purposes of science teaching If a preservice teacher is aware that students may have difficulties and misconceptions related to his/her goals or purposes (e.g., scientific skill development), as indicated in her CoRe, and designs his/her teaching by considering this difficulty (i.e., students may have difficulty in drawing electric circuits) Knowledge of learner
(Prompt 3 for prerequisites and prompts 5–6 for difficulties and misconceptions)
Goals or purposes of science teaching If a preservice teacher attempts to assess whether students achieved his/her goals or purposes of science teaching (e.g., scientific skill development) throughout the lesson plan (i.e., CoRe) Knowledge of assessment (Prompt 7—explanations about teaching—and specifically prompt 8)
Beliefs about nature of science If a preservice teacher is aware that students may have misconceptions in NOS as indicated in her lesson plan (i.e., CoRe) and is teaching for eliminating one of the myths about NOS (e.g., hierarchical relationship between theory and law) in his/her lesson plan (i.e., CoRe) Knowledge of learner
(Prompt 3 for prerequisites and prompts 5–6 for difficulties and misconceptions)
Beliefs about nature of science If a preservice teacher uses implicit or explicit approach to teach NOS in his/her lesson plan (i.e., CoRe) Knowledge of instructional strategy
(Prompt 7 in CoRe)
Beliefs about nature of science If a preservice teacher makes an assessment to reveal students’ misconceptions about NOS at the beginning and/or to reveal whether students overcome misconceptions about NOS s/he communicated this in his/her lesson plan at the end (i.e., CoRe) Knowledge of assessment (Prompt 7—explanations about teaching—and specifically prompt 8)
Beliefs about science teaching and learning If a preservice teacher is aware that students may have difficulties his/her beliefs (e.g., reform-based) as indicated in her CoRe and designs his/her teaching by considering this difficulty (i.e., students may have difficulty in being active) Knowledge of learner
(Prompt 3 for prerequisites and prompts 5–6 for difficulties and misconceptions)
Beliefs about science teaching and learning If a preservice teacher attempts to reflect his/her beliefs about science teaching and learning (e.g., reform-based) in his/her lesson by including objectives from the curriculum specific to these beliefs (i.e., writing higher level objectives that keep students active) in his/her lesson plan (i.e., CoRe) Knowledge of curriculum (Curriculum objectives to be addressed prompt and prompt 3 in CoRe)
Beliefs about science teaching and learning If a preservice teacher attempts to design a lesson (i.e., CoRe) to achieve his/her beliefs about science teaching and learning (e.g., reform-based) by using a reform-based subject and/or topic specific instructional strategy Knowledge of instructional strategy
(Prompt 7 in CoRe)

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Demirdöğen, B. Interaction Between Science Teaching Orientation and Pedagogical Content Knowledge Components. J Sci Teacher Educ 27, 495–532 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-016-9472-5

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Keywords

  • Science teaching orientation
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Case study
  • Preservice science teachers
  • Deductive
  • Constant comparison analysis