The development of preservice chemistry teachers' pedagogical content knowledge

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Abstract

This study investigated the development of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) within a group of 12 preservice chemistry teachers (all M.Sc.) during the first semester of their one-year post-graduate teacher education program. The study focused on PCK with respect to a central issue in science teaching, that is, the relation between observable phenomena, like chemical reactions, and macroscopic properties (e.g., boiling point, solubility) on the one hand, and their interpretation in terms of corpuscular characteristics on the other hand (macro–micro). For secondary school students, shifting mentally between the macro and micro levels is usually problematic, whereas their teachers are often unaware of students' learning difficulties in this domain. The collection of data involved two written questionnaires, interviews with each preservice teacher and their respective mentors, and an audio recording of a specific workshop session in the teacher education program. Results indicated a growing awareness among the preservice teachers concerning the need, in teaching situations, to explicitly relate the macro and micro levels to each other. Moreover, the importance of the careful and consistent use of language was noticed by many preservice teachers. The growth of PCK was influenced mostly by the preservice teachers' teaching experiences. Also, the workshop contributed substantially. Finally, for some preservice teachers, their mentors had influenced the growth of PCK. Implications for science teacher education are discussed. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed86:572–590, 2002; Published online in Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/sce.10010

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