Encyclopedia of Science Education

2015 Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Teaching Science Out-of-Field

  • Linda HobbsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2150-0_211

What Is Teaching Out-of-Field?

In 1990, “teaching out-of-field” was described as “education’s dirty little secret.” The label “out-of-field” has been used since the early 1980s to refer to qualified (or certified) teachers (usually) teaching a subject for which they have no formal qualification. While the term “teaching out-of-field” is used in the literature, it is still a relatively contemporary and contentious label that is not widely adopted by practitioners. The term is more commonly associated with secondary school teachers (or middle school or high school, typically students aged 12–18 years).

Generally, a teacher is considered “in-field” if they possess a minor or a major and a teaching qualification (including a teaching method) in that subject. However, internationally, no universal definition for a suitably qualified teacher exists because of differences in teacher education, accreditation requirements variation in school systems, and state certification processes....


Misassignment of teacher Nonspecialist teachers Outside of an area of expertise Teaching out of area 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Education, School of EducationDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia