A pedagogical approach in compulsory science curriculum subjects for pre-service primary teachers that works.

David McKinnon, Lena Danaia

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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This paper describes a pedagogical approach adopted in the compulsory curriculum subjects Science and Technology 1 and 2 of a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree. The approach uses Australia's foremost science, astronomy, as the vehicle to confront students with their lack of scientific knowledge, and to engage them in a process that they later use to develop and implement effective science experiences in other science content areas in the primary school. The approach is built on the construction of a learning environment where collaborative learning is mandatory within a problem-based learning (PBL) environment in the first subject and a project-based learning context in the second subject. These learning environments are designed to equip students with the skills and dispositions to engage with science education in the schools where they will teach. The teaching team work collaboratively in the design and delivery of the subjects both of which are informed by current research in the field. An action-research methodology employing, in part, a pre/post-test design is used to assess students' developing content knowledge, scientific conceptions, complexity of their reasoning and their science teaching self-efficacy. In addition, ongoing feedback and evaluation procedures are built into the subjects both of which allow the tutors to make continual improvements to the design and delivery of the subjects. Engaging in real science during tutorials has both challenged students' alternative scientific conceptions and required them to reconceptualise their current understandings of scientific concepts. In doing so, they are enacting the processes essential in teaching the scientific concepts to primary-age students while concurrently developing their Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). Evidence shows that the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 cohorts of pre-service teachers are engaged and motivated by these approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeacher Educators at Work
Subtitle of host publicationWhat works and where is the evidence?
EditorsTania Aspland
Place of PublicationSunshine Coast
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)0977568512
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference - Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Duration: 08 Jul 200811 Jul 2008


ConferenceAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference


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