Exposing Pathways for Developing Teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge at the Topic Level in Science

  • Elizabeth MavhungaEmail author


This chapter seeks to illustrate how pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) at the topic level is positioned within the Refined Consensus Model (RCM) of PCK by retrospectively applying the RCM to an existing study. It demonstrates this positioning by tracking the development of chemistry pre-service teachers’ PCK in electrochemistry across the newly conceptualised realms of collective, personal and enacted PCK. In this study, pre-service teachers are seen developing their personal PCK (pPCK) in the topic from a structured course based on collective PCK (cPCK) for the topic of electrochemistry and demonstrating part of their enacted PCK (ePCK) in the topic by developing a teaching programme on the topic. Data were collected using tools that were able to specifically measure the pre-service teachers’ pPCK in electrochemistry (pre- and post-intervention tests) and from classroom tutorial assignments during the intervention. The analysis of test data to detect shifts in the quality of pPCK was enabled using a criterion-based rubric, while a qualitative in-depth content analysis was employed on the collected assignments. Findings indicated a differentiated improvement in the pre-service teachers’ pPCK and in their ePCK for planning to teach the topic. Implications drawn for researchers in science teacher education include the importance of explicitly referencing the level or grain size of PCK under investigation in PCK studies and the realm in which the construct is located, as promoted in the RCM.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science Education Division, School of EducationUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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