About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4102-4111
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

CONNECTING PRESERVICE TEACHERS AND QUALITY SCIENCE TEACHING: OUR PRIMARY AIM

G. Cooper, J. Kenny, S. Fraser

University of Tasmania (AUSTRALIA)
Governments, industry and educators have expressed concern over the current state of science education in Australia. In an effort to overcome what some perceive to be a ‘science crisis’, raising students’ levels of scientific literacy is recognised as a key aim. Increases in students’ scientific literacy are closely linked with student-centred teaching pedagogies. Despite the importance of effective teaching, at primary school level, teachers face many obstacles when teaching science such as their generally low science PCK and a lack of confidence to teach the discipline. In response to concerns about the effectiveness of science education, the Federal Government has made science a key priority in the development of the new national Australian Curriculum and has created a primary science teaching approach called Primary Connections.
Evaluative studies of Primary Connections have indicated its effectiveness in changing primary teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and the way science is taught, however, there is a gap in the literature concerning preservice teachers’ experience with this approach to teaching science. Preservice teachers face similar obstacles to teaching science as primary teachers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to address the gap in the literature by investigating preservice teachers’ experiences with, beliefs and perceptions about Primary Connections.
Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as an analytical framework, first, this study examined the level of preservice teachers’ awareness and knowledge of the Primary Connections approach. Second, it explored the experiences preservice teachers had of using Primary Connections in a school environment. Last, it looked at the factors influencing the intentions of preservice teachers to use Primary Connections when teaching after graduation. The data collection methods used for this study included an online survey subsequently followed by semi-structured interviews.
Analysis of the data gathered from the online survey and the interviews indicated that 58 percent of all participants (n=45) in this study indicated a good or strong awareness of awareness of Primary Connections. Moreover, 96 percent of this study’s survey participants (n=74) indicated a positive attitude to using it in their future teaching. The main reasons for such an attitude included student engagement, preservice teachers’ own engagement and improvements to teaching pedagogy. In contrast, 4 percent of survey participants (n=3) indicated a negative attitude to using it in their future teaching practice. This group of participants suggested possible improvements to the Primary Connections approach including broadening the view of science, including more ICT and assessment tools. The science lecturer was noted as a major influence towards preservice teachers using Primary Connections in their future teaching. Moreover, 82 percent of participants (n=32) that have used it in schools indicated that their confidence in their ability to teach science as a result of using Primary Connections increased. There was evidence to suggest that preservice teachers felt unprepared to teach science and had developed their science PCK by using Primary Connections.
This study’s data indicated that some preservice teachers turned to Primary Connections as a scaffold to help them teach science. This study indicates that they may do so in the future when they start teaching.
@InProceedings{COOPER2011CON,
author = {Cooper, G. and Kenny, J. and Fraser, S.},
title = {CONNECTING PRESERVICE TEACHERS AND QUALITY SCIENCE TEACHING: OUR PRIMARY AIM},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {4102-4111}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Cooper AU - J. Kenny AU - S. Fraser
TI - CONNECTING PRESERVICE TEACHERS AND QUALITY SCIENCE TEACHING: OUR PRIMARY AIM
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 4102
EP - 4111
ER -
G. Cooper, J. Kenny, S. Fraser (2011) CONNECTING PRESERVICE TEACHERS AND QUALITY SCIENCE TEACHING: OUR PRIMARY AIM, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 4102-4111.
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