Preservice Science Teachers Concerns through Classroom Observations and Student Teaching: Special Focus on Inquiry TeachingReport as inadecuate

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Science Educator, v13 n1 p29-38 Spr 2004

The purpose of this study was to develop a picture of how preservice science teachers? instructional concerns changed during a yearlong science methods program spanning initial classroom observations through student teaching. Another goal of this study was to determine the teachers? ideas about inquiry teaching and the influence of their methods course and classroom experience on their use of inquiry teaching methods during their student teaching. Thirteen secondary preservice teachers (PT), (six male, seven female), who were enrolled in a yearlong science methods program at a large midwestern university, participated in this study. They underwent some classroom observations. In addition to the classroom observations, they were given an open-ended pre-observation questionnaire and an open-ended post-observation questionnaire. All student questionnaires and reflections were analyzed using content analysis. In the pre-observation questionnaire, all of the PTs recorded that the inquiry methodology was a good way to teach science content. Only four out of the 13 PTs (31%) observed their cooperating teacher using an inquiry-type lesson during their pre-student teaching observations. A total of 286 preservice teacher KWL reflections were analyzed and divided into three time periods: observation-1 reflections (n= 69) during the fall semester, observation-2 reflections (n=61) at the beginning of spring semester, and student teaching reflections (n=156) during the spring semester. Their concerns on instructional delivery, assessment, planning, as well as other concerns were divided into categories. Some preservice teachers in this study believed that questioning or predicting was the complete inquiry process. The preservice teachers in this study also encountered frustration and difficulties with teaching inquiry in the form of negative student attitudes, time restraints, and lack of student effort. (Contains 1 table.)

Descriptors: Preservice Teachers, Science Teachers, Classroom Observation Techniques, Student Teaching, Inquiry, Questionnaires, Methods Courses, Graduate Students, Education Majors, Content Analysis, Teaching Methods, Classroom Techniques, Cooperating Teachers, Student Teacher Attitudes

National Science Education Leadership Association. P.O. Box 99381, Raleigh, NC 27624-9381, Tel: 919-848-8171; Fax: 919-848-0496; Web site:

Author: Lotter, Christine


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