Exploring the epistemological, pedagogical, and curricular beliefs of preservice secondary science teachers on global climate change
Cajigal, Aris Reynold Vertido
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Global climate change is a socioscientific issue that is popular in socio-political, economic, and educational contexts. This study explored the epistemological, pedagogical, and curricular beliefs of preservice secondary science teachers on global climate change. It examined the experiences of preservice teachers that influenced their perspectives on the issue, and the negotiations they anticipate in the future when developing this topic in their classrooms. Employing an interpretive research methodology, data were collected from four preservice secondary science teachers through case study methods, in-depth interviews, and written products. The analysis of data revealed that the preservice science teachers’ epistemological, pedagogical, and curricular beliefs on global climate change were in a dynamic relationship and bound by two significant points: (1) Global climate change is a seemingly inevitable topic. (2) Global climate change has a rightful place in the science curriculum. Perspectives on global climate change tended to be mediated by the preservice teachers’ experiences with people, places, and events. More specifically, themes that emerged within the four cases include: (1) distinction between the “what” and the “why”; (2) Who is the source?; (3) establishing a climate of learning; (4) life with global climate change; (5) making choices; (6) teacher as mediator; (7) reducing personal carbon footprint; (8) authority matters; (9) to be persuaded but not to be persuasive; (10) uncertainties surrounding the issue; (11) reliance on the processes of science; and (12) examining controversial issues in the classroom. The themes emerging from cross-analysis include: (1) natural versus anthropogenic causes; (2) information audit; (3) relevance of the topic of global climate change to the individual lives of students; (4) influence from family and friends; (5) dealing with An Inconvenient Truth; (6) academic context; (7) controversy surrounding global climate change transcends the scientific, political, and economic aspects of society; and (8) classroom debate as a microcosm of the larger scientific community. Recognizing the controversial nature of the topic of global climate change, the preservice teachers plan to negotiate the teaching of this concept in terms of content, context, process, and outcomes. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the study are also elaborated in this report.