A study of PCK of science teachers for gifted secondary students going through the National Board Certification process
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The purpose of this study was to obtain a better understanding of the nature of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and its development. This study examined the nature of PCK that candidate teachers for National Board Certification (NBC) demonstrated and the roles of the NBC process in fostering the teachers’ PCK development. In order to understand how students play a role in organizing, developing, and validating teachers’ PCK, how students’ giftedness is related to teachers’ PCK was also investigated. This study was a multiple case study grounded in a social constructivist framework. The participants of this study were four high school science teachers who either were going through or had gone through the NBC process. Data were collected from multiple sources such as observations, interviews, teachers’ written reflections, students’ work samples, lesson plans, and researcher’s field notes. Data analysis was conducted using three different approaches with Atlas.ti as an aid: (a) constant comparative method, (b) enumerative approach, and (c) in-depth analysis of explicit PCK. The results showed that PCK was developed through reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action in the context of practices. Teacher efficacy emerged as an important component of PCK, which led to the construction of the hexagon model of PCK. Students had a great deal of impact on PCK development, particularly students’ misconceptions played a significant role in shaping PCK. Because PCK development required teachers to integrate different components of PCK and individual teachers developed one or many of the components in a variety of ways, however, their PCK was idiosyncratic to some degree. In addition, instructional challenges caused by gifted students’ special characteristics influenced teachers’ PCK in multiple ways. The NBC process influenced candidate teachers’ PCK development through facilitating reflection, encouraging implementation of new instructional strategies, fostering inquiry-oriented instruction, improving assessment of students, and increasing understanding of students. This study provides several implications for teacher education and research. Teacher education needs to be more subject matter-specific and emphasize reflection. Teachers’ affective domains such as teacher efficacy should be also considered to improve PCK. A longitudinal study to examine the sustainability of the effects of the NBC process is suggested.