The Impact of Teacher Education on Understanding the Epistemic Core: Focusing on One Pre-service Chemistry Teacher

  • Sibel Erduran
  • Ebru Kaya
Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)


The chapter focuses on Alev, a pre-service chemistry teacher, and provides an in-depth illustration of her perceptions and representations of the epistemic core. For each category of the epistemic core, data are presented before and after the implementation of the teacher education intervention. The data sources are (a) drawings which are accompanied by text and (b) structured interviews resulting in verbal statements. The data were analysed using qualitative methodology that is guided by some of the key theoretical constructs that underpinned the teacher education intervention. For example, in the case of scientific knowledge as a category of the epistemic core, there was an emphasis on forms of scientific knowledge as theories, laws and models and how they collectively contribute to scientific understanding. Hence the theme of knowledge forms is of interest given the teacher education objectives. Across all of the epistemic core categories of aims and values, practices, methods and knowledge, Alev demonstrates a shift in her perceptions and representations. She includes analogies in her drawings to communicate an adaptation of the visual tools used in the teacher education sessions. For example, in the case of “scientific methods”, she uses a pencil case analogy to illustrate the diversity of methods used in science. She makes explicit references to the teacher education session and how it helped her change her ideas. She is also reflective about her own learning and how the ideas introduced in the sessions differ from her previous learning. Alev can offer some ideas about how to integrate the epistemic core in teaching, but due to her limited teaching practice experience, the pedagogical aspects of her perceptions about the epistemic core are underdeveloped. Overall, however, she demonstrates understanding of the key themes promoted in the sessions. Although the results could also be interpreted as Alev repeating information not necessarily demonstrating understanding, her ability to adapt some abstract ideas into her own analogies suggests that she has begun to internalise the epistemic themes targeted through the teacher education intervention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sibel Erduran
    • 1
  • Ebru Kaya
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Science EducationBoğaziçi UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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