EMIRATI PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS IN MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE: AN ECOBEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT
The purpose of this study was to investigate and record the teaching behaviors of undergraduate pre-service teachers during their student teaching experience in both mathematics and science. The research was conducted in Cycle 1 (elementary) public schools in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Data were collected using a validated ecobehavior assessment tool, the Mainstream Code for Instructional Structure and Student Academic Response (MS-CISSAR) (Greenwood, Carta, Kamps, Terry, & Delquadri, 1994). The MS-CISSAR computer program relies on a momentary time sampling method of one-minute intervals divided into 20-seconds. In the first 20-seconds the data collector records Classroom Ecology. There are 51 codes for Classroom Ecology that include codes for Setting, Activity, Physical Arrangement and Instructional Grouping. In the next 20-second interval, specific teacher information was collected. We collected data on Teacher Definition and Teacher Behaviors. For Teacher Definition, we coded Student Teacher unless the classroom teacher took over instruction. If that happened, we stopped coding. There are 12 codes for Teacher Behaviors. The final 20-second interval focuses on collecting data on a target student. This study focused only on the Classroom Ecology and the Teacher Behaviors. There are 108 possible codes in the MS-CISSAR program however, since we did not select target students, we used only 73 codes. Data were collected for one class in science and one class in mathematics. Because of scheduling, some students were observed in both mathematics and science and some students only in one subject. Three of the researchers conducted all of the observations. The first author trained the other two researchers in four phases. Reliability was confirmed when agreement was reached between all three researchers at 90% or above over every category.
Results revealed the eleven pre-service teachers science for an average of 39.5-minutes (range 28-50-minutes). The nine pre-service teachers taught mathematics for an average of 38-minutes (range 23-49). Both groups of pre-service teachers preferred whole class arrangements for both science and mathematics, 51% and 62%, respectively. The pre-service teachers “talked about academics” or engaged in “question academics” for more time than any other instructional activity (45% in science and 46% in math). In science, teachers similarly spent 13% of their time in "management" (get your pencils, come to the carpet) and 3% of their time in discipline. In math, the student teachers spent 15% of their time engaged in "management" and 5% in discipline. In total, the student teachers were talking 61% and 66% of their instructional time talking. These data, along with data on instructional groupings, teacher tasks and other teaching behaviors are compared with the ecological arrangements and teaching strategies used in studies of other pre-service teachers and in-service teachers. Implications for re-focusing teacher training sessions on aligning with and practicing research-based teaching strategies will be discussed.