10 SES 03 C, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Teacher education has been said to be research-based, but do we give any authentic possibilities for subject teacher students to experience what the nature of educational research actually is? This question arises from the dilemma that teacher education is often criticized for being too theoretical and separated from practice (Kagan, 1992). Student teachers are likely to perceive a disconnection between the learning of educational theories at the university and their teaching practice experiences. They are largely unsupported in their attempts to make sense of their own or others students’ practice with respect to the theories presented in university coursework. (Luehmann 2007.) Pre-service teacher education is the very place where the research-practice gap is supposed to be bridged: ideally, teacher educators work with student teachers to help them understand how the research base can be used to support practice (Clough et al. 2009). The challenge especially concerns subject student teachers. They usually come from so called subject faculties to the faculty of education, in order to pursue their pedagogical studies which include, e.g., subject didactics and teaching practice. For instance, science student teachers might have – at least implicitly – been informed of the nature of science, but how could these students achieve adequate experiences on educational research? Our hypotheses is that if a student teacher could have experiences through research apprenticeship (cf. Sadler et al. 2010), then there may be improvement regarding attitude and motivation towards the “teacher-as-researcher” stance (cf. Bruce et al. 2011). The purpose of this pragmatic case study was to explore what kind of experiences science student teachers gain during a 6-month research course of subject pedagogy. Ten out of 14 students decided to take part in a study project which explores so called advanced pupils’ views of the Nature of Science (NOS) in Finland; this study was related to a comparative study based on a Turkish sample (Köksal & Sormunen 2009). During the first meeting, the study project was introduced to the students. They then formed four research teams according to their research tasks: pupils’ attitudes towards science; pupils’ motivation towards science; pupils’ views of NOS; teachers’ conceptions about their pupils. In the next two meetings the teams started to draw up their research plans with the teacher educator. Then the teams translated international questionnaires, designed interview themes, gathered and analyzed data with the support of their teacher educator as well as consulting with a SPSS expert for data analysis. The teams met together once a month to discuss the project in general and possible problems. Finally, the research teams wrote a literature-based report on their sub-study and defended it before their peer opponents. Based on this attempt to bridge the gap between the nature of educational research and practice in the subject teacher program, we pose the following research question: What kind of experiences did science student teachers have when they participated in the research apprenticeship course on subject pedagogy? The results are discussed as possible new insights for improving teacher education programs.
Bruce, C. D., Flynn, T. & Stagg-Peterson, S. 2011. Examining what we mean by collaboration in collaborative action research: a cross-case analysis. Educational Action Research 19, 433-452. Clough, M. P., Berg, G. A. & Olson, J. K. 2009. Promoting effective science teacher education and science teaching: A framework for teacher decision-making. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 7, 821-847. Kagan, D. M. 1992. Professional growth among preservice and beginning teachers. Review of Educational Research 62, 129-169. Köksal, M. & Sormunen, K. 2009. Advanced science students’ understanding on nature of science in Turkey. A paper presented in the European Science Education Research Association (E.S.E.R.A) Conference, August 31 – September 4, 2009, Istanbul, Turkey. Luehmann, A. L. 2007. Identity development as a lens to science teacher preparation. Science Education, 91, 822–839. Sadler, T. D., Burgin, S., McKinney, L. & Ponjuan, L. 2010. Learning science through research apprenticeships: A critical review of the literature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 47, 235-256.
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