Learning to teach science in contemporary and equitable ways: The successes and struggles of first-year science teachers


  • A draft of this manuscript was presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 2001, Seattle, WA.


Recent studies of beginning science teachers make clear that learning to integrate contemporary nature of science descriptions and equitable instructional strategies into educational practices is a complex and challenging endeavor. In this research project, we examined the views and practices of three first-year science teachers, recent graduates of a teacher education program in California known for its attention to gender equitable and multicultural content and instruction. We explored these beginning teachers' attempts to present contemporary descriptions of the nature of science and implement equitable instructional strategies in their classrooms; we videotaped two of their curricular units and conducted individual interviews after each unit lesson. From qualitative analysis of these interviews, we developed case studies that described the ideas and practices these beginning teachers took up from their preservice experiences, as well as the reasons provided and constraints identified for science topics taught and instructional approaches used. In our discussion, we examined commonalties across beginning teachers' successes and struggles in learning to teach science in contemporary and equitable ways, as well as lessons we learned about ways to improve preservice science teacher education. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed87:419–443, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/sce.10058