Skip to main content

Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Informal Science Educators: Development of the ISE-PCK Framework

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to conceptualize a pedagogical content knowledge framework for informal science educators (ISE-PCK). An initial, hypothetical framework was created grounded in the literature in informal science education (ISE) as analogous to PCK models in formal science education. An exploratory sequential mixed-methods research design was used to revise, refine, and validate the initial framework. Data were collected through interviews and Delphi method surveys with practicing ISE educators and education researchers. The refined and validated ISE-PCK framework comprised five, correlated constituent components: knowledge of ISE goals, knowledge of ISE programs, knowledge of context(s) of audience(s), knowledge of engagement strategies, and knowledge of evaluation. Of these five components, knowledge of engagement strategies was considered the most important and knowledge of evaluation was considered the least important, as ranked by the Delphi study participants. Articulation of a framework for ISE-PCK is useful to professionalize the important work that ISE educators do as well as to provide guidance for professional development programs. This framework for ISE-PCK will serve as a conceptual foundation for future research focusing on informal science educators’ knowledge in relation to their performance and their professional growth from novice to expert.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • Abell, S. K. (2008). Twenty years later: Does pedagogical content knowledge remain a useful idea? International Journal of Science Education, 30(10), 1405–1416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Allen, L. B., & Crowley, K. J. (2014). Challenging beliefs, practices, and content. How museum educators change. Science Education, 98(1),84–105

  • Allen, S., & Peterman, K. (2019). Evaluating informal STEM education: Issues and challenges in context. New Directions for Evaluation, 2019(161), 17–33

  • Ash, D. B., & Lombana, J. (2012). Methodologies for reflective practice and museum educator research: The role of “noticing” and responding. In D. B. Ash, J. Rahm, & L. M. Melber (Eds.) Putting theory into practice: Tools for research in informal settings (pp.29–52). Sense Publishers

  • Barendsen, E., & Henze, I. (2019). Relating teacher PCK and teacher practice using classroom observation. Research in Science Education, 49(5), 1141–1175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barnett, J., & Hodson, D. (2001). Pedagogical context knowledge: Toward a fuller understanding of what good science teachers know. Science Education, 85(4), 426–453

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bennett, N., Dudo, A., Yuan, S., & Besley, J. (2019). Scientists, trainers, and the strategic communication of science. In T. P. Newman (Ed.), Theory and best practices in science communication training (pp. 9–31). Routledge

  • Bevan, B., Dillon, J., Hein, G. E., Macdonald, M., Michalchik, V., Miller, D. … Yoon, S. (2010). Making science matter: Collaborations between informal science education organizations and schools. Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE). https://www.informalscience.org/sites/default/files/MakingScienceMatter.pdf. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Bevan, B., & Xanthoudaki, M. (2008). Professional development for museum educators: Unpinning the underpinnings. Journal of Museum Education, 33(2), 107–119

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brossard, D., Lewenstein, B., & Bonney, R. (2005). Scientific knowledge and attitude change: The impact of a citizen science project. International Journal of Science Education, 27(9), 1099–1121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carlson, J., & Daehler, K. R. (2019). The refined consensus model of pedagogical content knowledge in science education. In A. Hume, R. Cooper, & A. Borowski (Eds.), Repositioning pedagogical content knowledge in teachers’ knowledge for teaching science (pp. 77–92). Springer

  • Castle, M. C. (2006). Blending pedagogy and content: A new curriculum for museum teachers. Journal of Museum Education, 31(2), 123–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education. (CAISE) (2011). Principal investigator’s guide: Managing evaluation in informal STEM education projects. Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE). http://informalscience.org/evaluation/evaluation-resources/pi-guide. Accessed 10 March 2022

  • Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S. E., & Major, L. E. (2014). What makes great teaching? Review of the under-pinning research. Sutton Trust. http://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-Makes-Great-Teaching-REPORT.pdf http://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-Makes-Great-Teaching-REPORT.pdf. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2018). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage Publications

  • Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (4th edition). Sage Publications

  • Davidson, S. K., Passmore, C., & Anderson, D. (2010). Learning on zoo field trips: The interaction of the agendas and practices of students, teachers, and zoo educators. Science Education, 94(1), 122–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dawson, E. (2014). “Not designed for us”: How science museums and science centers socially exclude low-income, minority ethnic groups. Science education, 98(6), 981–1008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeCuir-Gunby, J. T., Marshall, P. L., & McCulloch, A. W. (2011). Developing and using a codebook for the analysis of interview data: An example from a professional development research project. Field Methods, 23(2), 136–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeCuir-Gunby, J. T., & Schutz, P. A. (2017). Developing a mixed methods proposal: A practical guide for beginning researchers. Sage Publications

  • Ellenbogen, K. (2014). Summary of the CAISE convening on building capacity for evaluation in informal science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE). http://informalscience.org/research/ic-000-000-010-034/ECB_Convening_Summary. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Ennes, M., Jones, M. G., & Chesnutt, K. (2020). Evaluation of educator self-efficacy in informal science centers. Journal of Museum Education, 45(3), 327–339

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2010). The 95% solution. American Scientist, 98(6), 486–493

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2016). The museum experience revisited. Routledge

  • Farrell, B., & Medvedeva, M. (2010). Demographic transformation and the future of museums. Center for the Future of Museums. https://knowledge.uchicago.edu/record/1272. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Filippoupoliti, A., & Koliopoulos, D. (2014). Informal and non-formal education: An outline of History of Science in museums. Science & Education, 23(4), 781–791

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Freedman, G. (2000). The changing nature of museums. Curator: The Museum Journal, 43(4), 295–306

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Friedrichsen, P., Abell, S. K., Pareja, E. M., Brown, P. L., Lankford, D. M., & Volkmann, M. J. (2009). Does teaching experience matter? Examining biology teachers’ prior knowledge for teaching in an alternative certification program. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(4), 357–383

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garibay, C., & Olson, J. M. (2020). CCLI national landscape study: The state of DEAI practices in museums. Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI). https://www.informalscience.org/sites/default/files/CCLI_National_Landscape_Study-DEAI_Practices_in_Museums_2020.pdf. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Garibay, C., & Teasdale, R. M. (2019). Equity and evaluation in informal STEM education. New Directions for Evaluation, 2019(161), 87–106.

  • Gess-Newsome, J. (1999). Pedagogical content knowledge: An introduction and orientation. In Examining pedagogical content knowledge (pp. 3–17). Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Gess-Newsome, J. (2015). A model of teacher professional knowledge and skill including PCK: Results of the thinking from the PCK summit. In A. Berry, P. Friedrichsen, & J. Loughran (Eds.), Re-examining pedagogical content knowledge in science education (pp. 38–52). Routledge

  • Gess-Newsome, J., Taylor, J. A., Carlson, J., Gardner, A. L., Wilson, C. D., & Stuhlsatz, M. A. M. (2019). Teacher pedagogical content knowledge, practice, and student achievement. International Journal of Science Education, 41(7), 944–963

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Geveke, C. H., Steenbeek, H. W., Doornenbal, J. M., & Van Geert, P. L. C. (2017). Attractor states in teaching and learning processes: A study of out-of-school science education. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 299, 1–18

    Google Scholar 

  • Giannarou, L., & Zervas, E. (2014). Using Delphi technique to build consensus in practice. International Journal of Business Science & Applied Management, 9(2), 65–82

    Google Scholar 

  • Grossman, P. L. (1990). The making of a teacher: Teacher knowledge and teacher education. Teachers College Press

  • Hein, G. E. (2002). Learning in the museum. Routledge

  • Hein, G. E. (2005). The role of museums in society: Education and social action. Curator, 48(4), 357

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holliday, G. M., & Lederman, G. N. (2014). Informal science educators’ views about nature of scientific knowledge. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 4(2), 123–146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kanter, D. E., & Konstantopoulos, S. (2010). The impact of a project-based science curriculum on minority student achievement, attitudes, and careers: The effects of teacher content and pedagogical content knowledge and inquiry‐based practices. Science Education, 94(5), 855–887

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keller, M. M., Neumann, K., & Fischer, H. E. (2017). The impact of physics teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and motivation on students’ achievement and interest. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 54(5), 586–614

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kelsey, E., & Dillon, J. (2010). ‘If the public knew better, they would act better’: The pervasive power of the myth of the ignorant public. In R. B. Stevenson, & J. Dillon (Eds.), Engaging environmental education: learning, culture, agency (pp. 97–110). Brill Sense

  • King, H., & Tran, L. (2017). Facilitating deep conceptual learning: The role of reflection and learning communities. In P. Patrick (Ed.), Preparing informal science educators (pp. 67–85). Springer

  • Kloser, M. (2014). Identifying a core set of science teaching practices: A Delphi expert panel approach. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(9), 1185–1217

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krauss, S., Brunner, M., Kunter, M., Baumert, J., Blum, W., Neubrand, M., & Jordan, A. (2008). Pedagogical content knowledge and content knowledge of secondary mathematics teachers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), 716–725

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kubarek, J. (2017). The need and timeliness of preparing informal science educators. In P. Patrick (Ed.), Preparing informal science educators (pp. 577–593). Springer

  • Kulgemeyer, C., & Riese, J. (2018). From professional knowledge to professional performance: The impact of CK and PCK on teaching quality in explaining situations. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(10), 1393–1418

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landeta, J. (2006). Current validity of the Delphi method in social sciences. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 73(5), 467–482

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press

  • Loughran, J., Mulhall, P., & Berry, A. (2004). In search of pedagogical content knowledge in science: Developing ways of articulating and documenting professional practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(4), 370–391

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Magnusson, S., Krajcik, J., & Borko, H. (1999). Nature, sources and development of pedagogical content knowledge for science teaching. In J. Gess-Newsome, & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Examining pedagogical content knowledge: The construct and its implications for science education (pp. 95–132). Kluwer Academic

  • Matthews, C. E., Thompson, S., & Payne, S. C. (2017). Preparing informal science educators in a formal science teacher education program: An oxymoron?. In P. Patrick (Ed.), Preparing informal science educators (pp. 355–386). Springer

  • McCallie, E., Bell, L., Lohwater, T., Falk, J. H., Lehr, J. L., Lewenstein, B. V. … Wiehe, B. (2009). Many experts, many audiences: Public engagement with science and informal science education. Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE. http://caise.insci.org/uploads/docs/public_engagement_with_science.pdf. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Morrissey, K. (2020). A guide to the ISL professional competency framework. Available at http://www.islframework.org/. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (2008). Professional standards for the accreditation of teacher preparation institutions. ERIC Clearinghouse

  • National Research Council [NRC]. (2009). Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. National Academies Press

  • National Research Council [NRC]. (2010). Preparing teachers: Building evidence for sound policy. National Academies Press

  • National Research Council [NRC]. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. National Academies Press

  • NGSS Lead States (2013). Next Generation Science Standardshttp://www.nextgenscience.org/. Accessed 10 March 2022.

  • Nisbet, M. C., & Scheufele, D. A. (2009). What’s next for science communication? Promising directions and lingering distractions. American Journal of Botany, 96(10), 1767–1778

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Osborne, J., Collins, S., Ratcliffe, M., Millar, R., & Duschl, R. (2003). What “ideas-about‐science” should be taught in school science? A Delphi study of the expert community. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(7), 692–720

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patrick, P. G. (2017). Informal science educators and the nine dimensions of reflective practice. In P. Patrick (Ed.), Preparing informal science educators (pp. 41–65). Springer

  • Park, S., & Oliver, J. S. (2008). Revisiting the conceptualisation of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK): PCK as a conceptual tool to understand teachers as professionals. Research in science Education, 38(3), 261–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Park, S., Jang, J. Y., Chen, Y. C., & Jung, J. (2011). Is pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) necessary for reformed science teaching?: Evidence from an empirical study. Research in Science Education, 41(2), 245–260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Park, S., & Chen, Y. C. (2012). Mapping out the integration of the components of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK): Examples from high school biology classrooms. Journal of research in science teaching, 49(7), 922–941.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pattison, S. A., & Dierking, L. D. (2013). Staff-mediated learning in museums: A social interaction perspective. Visitor Studies, 16(2), 117–143

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Plummer, J. D., & Small, K. J. (2013). Informal science educators’ pedagogical choices and goals for learners: The case of planetarium professionals. Astronomy Education Review, 12(1), 1–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Plummer, J. D., Ozcelik, T. A., & Crowl, M. M. (2021). Informal science educators engaging preschool-age audiences in science practices. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 11(2), 91–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rennie, L. (2014). Learning science outside of school. In N. G. Lederman, & S. Abell (Eds.), Handbook of research in science education (II vol., pp. 134–158). Routledge

  • Shaby, N., Assaraf, B. Z. O., & Tal, T. (2019). An examination of the interactions between museum educators and students on a school visit to science museum. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56(2), 211–239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stocklmayer, S. M., & Rennie, L. J. (2017). The attributes of informal science education: A science communication perspective. In P. Patrick (Ed.), Preparing informal science educators (pp. 527–544). Springer

  • Tal, T. (2012). Out-of-school: Learning experiences, teaching and students’ learning. In B. J. Fraser, K. Tobin, & C. J. McRobbie (Eds.), Second international handbook of science education (pp. 1109–1122). Springer

  • Tal, T., & Morag, O. (2007). School visits to natural history museums: Teaching or enriching? Journal of Researchin Science Teaching, 44(5), 747–769

  • Tran, L. U. (2007). Teaching science in museums: The pedagogy and goals of museum educators. Science Education, 91(2), 278–297

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tran, L. U. (2008). The work of science museum educators. Museum Management and Curatorship, 23(2), 135–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tran, L. U., & King, H. (2007). The professionalization of museum educators: The case in science museums. Museum Management and Curatorship, 22(2), 131–149

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tran, L. U., & King, H. (2011). Teaching science in informal environments: Pedagogical knowledge for informal educators. In D. Corrigan, J. Dillon, & R. Gunstone (Eds.), The professional knowledge base of science teaching (pp. 279–293). Springer

  • U.K. Department for Education (2015). National curriculum in England: Science programmes of study. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study. Accessed 10 March 2022.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to K.C. Busch.

Ethics declarations

Ethics Approval

All research methods were approved through the North Carolina State University institutional review board (Protocol # 17943). Participants were provided with project information and consented to research activities.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Busch, K., Kudumu, M. & Park, S. Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Informal Science Educators: Development of the ISE-PCK Framework. Res Sci Educ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-022-10055-9

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-022-10055-9

Keywords

  • Informal science learning
  • Informal science education
  • Informal science educator
  • Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)