Citizen science as a framework for secondary science teacher preparation
Britton, Stacey Arnell
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Science teacher preparation courses provide a foundation for many future science educators in educational theory and practice. This dissertation focuses on one pre-service science teacher education course which used citizen science as the pedagogical framework for instruction. Citizen science promotes the intersection between science, society, ecology, and students by allowing for knowledge acquisition to occur while participating in environmental and social action. Emphasizing citizen science as a pedagogical framework allowed the instructor to address ecojustice philosophy, reasoning that promotes the inherent connection between social and environmental justice, by encouraging knowledge and awareness of physical, spiritual, and emotional connections between humans and their environment. This research presents a detailed account of how the course was designed, why the focus was on citizen science pedagogy, and what issues unfolded over the semester. Hermeneutic ethnography was utilized as the methodological framework that allowed for action to be processed and meaning ascribed, with the awareness that the researcher played a large role in making sense of what was important. Extensive time spent as a participant observer, multiple interviews, self-reflection, and artifact analysis supported the use of thick descriptions and promoted hermeneutics as a theory of understanding. Findings from this research concentrate on three primary tensions. The first tension furthers the discussion of embodied learning, including the value participants placed on being in and a part of the process behind learning to teach science. A second tension addresses the structure of science teacher education as a theory to practice or practice to theory approach; participants faced challenges when both approaches were presented with equal emphasis, but a seemingly greater value ascribed to one. The final tension suggests developing intellectual communities of dialogue as especially valuable in helping participants understand how the course unfolded, the significance of its structure, and how their personal teaching philosophy developed.
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