Amber S. Bismack, Elizabeth A. Davis, Annemarie S. Palincsar

Jan 7, 2022
Science Education

With the shifts in science education emphasizing the integration of science practices with science content, there is a need to know how teachers understand those science practices within their teaching practice. Our primary research question was, What do novice elementary teachers know about the science practices, in terms of what the practices are and how to engage students in the science practices? To answer that question, the current qualitative case study investigated how three novice elementary teachers" knowledge of the science practices is evident in their teaching practice across 4 years: 2 years in a practice‐based teacher education program and 2 years teaching. Data sources included videorecords of the teachers" science instruction, lesson plans, reflections, and interviews. The findings indicate that the novice elementary teachers" knowledge of the science practices and how to teach them varied, with their understanding of how to teach some science practices more evident than their knowledge of the nuances of the practices themselves. Across all of the science practices, they demonstrated a strong understanding that students should be the ones engaging in the intellectual work of the science practices, and not the teacher. As novice elementary teachers learn how to teach science, they may develop their science practice‐readiness, which can serve as a building block for understanding the science practices in greater depth with more teaching experience. The current study has implications for teacher educators when developing opportunities to support novices" understanding of the science practices in ways that can expand with more teaching experience.

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