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Equipping pre-service teachers to improve science education at primary schools: The impact of a science professional development program on pre-service teachers' subject matter knowledge, teaching strategies, self-efficacy, and attitude

Rouweler, M.J.M. (2016) Equipping pre-service teachers to improve science education at primary schools: The impact of a science professional development program on pre-service teachers' subject matter knowledge, teaching strategies, self-efficacy, and attitude.

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Abstract:International studies as well as Dutch studies have shown that Dutch elementary school teachers face several challenges in teaching science. In addition to their lack of subject matter knowledge, they have low self-efficacy, a negative attitude towards science, and they are unable to utilize effective teaching strategies during science lessons. This study investigated the effects of a science teaching professional development (PD) program on pre-service teachers facing these challenges. It investigated the extent to which the science teaching PD program alleviated these challenges in teaching science. The research followed a pre-test and post-test design with an experimental group (n=23) and comparison group (n=51). The experimental group received the science PD program, while the comparison group followed the regular science program. All respondents were third year pre-service teachers. Results indicated that the science PD program significantly improves pre-service teachers’ subject matter knowledge and self-efficacy. The program had little or no effect on the utilization of teaching strategies and pre-service teachers’ attitude towards science. To improve the science PD program, pre-service teachers answered a questionnaire on how they perceived the four main elements of the program, which were based on a review of the literature on teacher professional development. These elements are: collaborative learning, observing and reflecting, analysing student work, and having a space for teachers’ own professional development focus. Pre-service teachers perceived that focusing on their own professional development had a moderately positive effect on pre-service teacher professional development. The other elements were considered valuable for becoming good at teaching science.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Saxion, Deventer, The Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/70952
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