The professional beliefs and practices of secondary science teachers within the context of a site-based secondary science methods and curriculum course
Spellman, James Edward
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This interpretive research examines the professional beliefs and practices of six secondary science teachers involved with a site-based Secondary Science Methods and Curriculum course for pre-service teachers. Over the course of a semester, interviews, classroom observations, and teacher-generated models of teaching provided the sources of data. The analysis of these data show that the teachers strongly focus on issues about their students’ characteristics and needs when sharing their beliefs about being a science teacher. When analyzed using theoretical models of teaching found in the literature, these teachers make little indication that other aspects of teaching, such as pedagogical content knowledge or content knowledge, are at the cognitive forefront in their thinking about being a science teacher. Further analysis points to a number of constraints surrounding their jobs as science teachers that impact specific issues such as classroom management and the use of inquiry with their students. Implications from this research indicate that the beliefs and actions of these teachers provide a number of difficulties in achieving specific goals of science education reform. In addition, the data collection method of using teacher-generated models was useful in providing access to the beliefs about teaching held by the participants. Finally, a number of implications are discussed related to the design and development of site-based Methods and Curriculum courses for pre-service science teachers.