Learning by doing? Prospective elementary teachers' developing understandings of scientific inquiry and science teaching and learning

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Abstract

This study examined prospective elementary teachers' learning about scientific inquiry in the context of an innovative life science course. Research questions included: (1) What do prospective elementary teachers learn about scientific inquiry within the context of the course? and (2) In what ways do their experiences engaging in science investigations and teaching inquiry-oriented science influence prospective elementary teachers' understanding of science and science learning and teaching? Eleven prospective elementary teachers participated in this qualitative, multi-participant case study. Constant comparative analysis strategies attempted to build abstractions and explanations across participants around the constructs of the study. Findings suggest that engaging in scientific inquiry supported the development more appropriate understandings of science and scientific inquiry, and that prospective teachers became more accepting of approaches to teaching science that encourage children's questions about science phenomena. Implications include careful consideration of learning experiences crafted for prospective elementary teachers to support the development of robust subject matter knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1653-1674
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume26
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 29 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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