Examining evidence-based explanations in in-service science teachers' reflections
Deaton, Cynthia C. Minchew
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This qualitative study examined evidence-based explanations developed by in-service elementary science teachers as they reflected on their science teaching practice. To examine their evidence-based explanations, this study focused on how elementary science teachers used the Video Analysis Tool (VAT), a reflection framework, and evidence of their science teaching to develop explanations about their science teaching practice. Open coding was used to analyze participants' VAT analyses, journal entries, interview transcripts, and presentation transcripts. A layered case study approach was used to organize the data for four participants. Findings showed participants used multiple evidence categories, such as observatory, experiential, and preparatory evidence, to support explanations developed while reflecting on their science teaching. VAT was used for multiple purposes, such as examining teaching from another perspective, helping students monitor their own behavior, and gathering evidence of other teachers' science teaching practice. Participants were not able to thoroughly address the reflection framework. They struggled with identifying curriculum standards relevant to the focus of their reflection and contradictions between their teaching practice and teaching philosophy. The nature of evidence used by participants focused on nurturing students' emotional needs, examining how students learn, and addressing technical issues of practice. VAT afforded participants the opportunity to identify issues in their teaching practice and develop plans for solving dilemmas in their teaching practice. Through VAT, the reflection framework, and using accessible evidence, participants were able to engage in the reflective process.