Factors influencing entering teacher candidates' preferences for instructional activities: A glimpse into their orientations towards teaching

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study was designed to identify and characterize the major factors that influence entering science teacher candidates' preferences for different types of instructional activities, and to analyze what these factors suggest about teacher candidates' orientations towards science teaching. The study involved prospective teachers enrolled in the introductory science teaching course in an undergraduate science teacher preparation program. Our analysis was based on data collected using a teaching and learning beliefs questionnaire, together with structured interviews. Our results indicate that entering science teacher candidates have strong preferences for a few activity types. The most influential factors driving entering science teacher candidates' selections were the potential of the instructional activities to motivate students, be relevant to students' personal lives, result in transfer of skills to non-science situations, actively involve students in goal-directed learning, and implement curriculum that represents what students need to know. This set of influencing factors suggests that entering science teacher candidates' orientations towards teaching are likely driven by one or more of these three central teaching goals: (1) motivating students, (2) developing science process skills, and (3) engaging students in structured science activities. These goals, and the associated beliefs about students, teaching, and learning, can be expected to favor the development or enactment of three major orientations towards teaching in this population of future science teachers: "motivating students," "process," and "activity-driven."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1406
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume32
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

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candidacy
Teaching
teacher
science
student
learning
student teacher
curriculum
questionnaire
interview

Keywords

  • Orientations towards teaching
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Pre-service
  • Teacher beliefs
  • Teacher thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

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abstract = "The present study was designed to identify and characterize the major factors that influence entering science teacher candidates' preferences for different types of instructional activities, and to analyze what these factors suggest about teacher candidates' orientations towards science teaching. The study involved prospective teachers enrolled in the introductory science teaching course in an undergraduate science teacher preparation program. Our analysis was based on data collected using a teaching and learning beliefs questionnaire, together with structured interviews. Our results indicate that entering science teacher candidates have strong preferences for a few activity types. The most influential factors driving entering science teacher candidates' selections were the potential of the instructional activities to motivate students, be relevant to students' personal lives, result in transfer of skills to non-science situations, actively involve students in goal-directed learning, and implement curriculum that represents what students need to know. This set of influencing factors suggests that entering science teacher candidates' orientations towards teaching are likely driven by one or more of these three central teaching goals: (1) motivating students, (2) developing science process skills, and (3) engaging students in structured science activities. These goals, and the associated beliefs about students, teaching, and learning, can be expected to favor the development or enactment of three major orientations towards teaching in this population of future science teachers: {"}motivating students,{"} {"}process,{"} and {"}activity-driven.{"}",
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