The use of secondary science classroom teaching assistant experiences to recruit academically talented science majors into teaching

Debra Tomanek, Katharine E. Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The study was conducted to determine whether a classroom teaching assistant project could help recruit academically talented undergraduate science majors into teacher preparation. Academically talented science majors were identified by science course grade-point averages. The majors spent 10 hours each week for approximately 10 weeks assisting carefully selected secondary science teachers in their classroom teaching activities. Science teachers were selected for the project based on their reputations as creative, student-centered teachers. The classroom work in which the science majors engaged involved much direct involvement with students. In addition to the classroom work, the science majors also engaged in frequent discussions with their teachers about science teaching and participated in biweekly discussions with project directors about the classroom experiences. Only 3 of the 15 science majors involved in the project made definite decisions to enter teacher education. Case studies were developed about the three majors. The reasons accounting for their decisions included factors associated with the classroom experience as well as prior beliefs held about teaching. Results indicate that recruitment of some academically talented science majors into teaching can be positively influenced by classroom experiences involving direct interaction with students, opportunities to earn teacher certification without abandoning the academic science major, and frequent discussion about and encouragement of the majors' consideration of teaching as a rewarding and challenging career.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-227
Number of pages16
JournalScience Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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