About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 31-39
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0115

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain

“SURELY YOU CANNOT TEACH THEM ALL THE SAME CONTENT?” AN INSIGHT INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING SCIENCE IN A PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME

A. O' Dwyer

Mary Immaculate College (IRELAND)
Primary Education in Ireland consists of an eight year cycle. The broad curriculum encourages a variety of teaching and learning approaches. There are seven key curricular areas which are further divided into 12 subjects. Science in encompassed within the Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) curriculum. This curriculum also include History and Geography.
Unlike in some countries, there are no ‘formal’ subject specialists for teaching primary Science in Ireland. There are many factors contributing to pre-service teachers’ preparedness to teach Science in primary schools.

This research focused on examining teaching and learning of Science amongst pre-service primary teachers. 205 pre-service primary teachers participated. The pre-service teachers surveyed were at the end of their formal study of science education within their B.Ed. programme; they had completed two Science Education modules and had experience of teaching science in a primary classroom with at least three different class groups. Questionnaires were used to collect information from the participants. The participants’ responses were then analysed, categorised and coded.

Thorough analysis of the data indicated that there were three areas of ‘knowledge’ that the pre-service teachers referred to as challenges in their preparedness to teach primary science. The knowledge that the participants referred to were classified into three domains: subject matter knowledge (SMK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and knowledge of the primary science syllabus. Although the pre-service teachers did not make distinctions between these domains in their own responses, their feedback indicated that they recognised these as pre-requisites for competent teaching of primary Science. Interestingly, there was much disparity in the feedback from the pre-service teachers i.e. individuals placed emphasis on different knowledge domains depending on their self-efficacy and level of preparedness in different areas. For example, some pre-service teachers had no formal experience of second-level science education. For these students, their own level on subject content knowledge was their main concern. For many pre-service teachers who had such content knowledge, their concerns were based about deciphering the suitability and complexity of content for primary level pupils.

The author acknowledges that the findings are not unique to this cohort of pre-service teachers. Much literature has identified SMK and PCK as barriers for pre-service teachers. The pre-service teachers’ knowledges are influenced by their past experiences, can be disrupted by their present exposure to new methodologies and will impact on their future pedagogical innovation. This research provides a unique contribution by examining the intricate relationships between these knowledge domains. The presentation will also detail the innovative pedagogies that have arisen from this research-led feedback from the pre-service teachers.
@InProceedings{ODWYER2017SUR,
author = {O' Dwyer, A.},
title = {“SURELY YOU CANNOT TEACH THEM ALL THE SAME CONTENT?” AN INSIGHT INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING SCIENCE IN A PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.0115},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.0115},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {31-39}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. O' Dwyer
TI - “SURELY YOU CANNOT TEACH THEM ALL THE SAME CONTENT?” AN INSIGHT INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING SCIENCE IN A PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.0115
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 31
EP - 39
ER -
A. O' Dwyer (2017) “SURELY YOU CANNOT TEACH THEM ALL THE SAME CONTENT?” AN INSIGHT INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING SCIENCE IN A PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 31-39.
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