Learning from students, inquiry into practice, and participation in professional communities: Beginning teachers' uneven progress toward equitable science teaching



In this research project, we investigated two beginning secondary science teachers' efforts to learn to teach science in ways that build from and celebrate the ethnic, gender, linguistic, and academic diversity of their students. To do so, we followed Troy and Brian from their preservice teacher education experiences through their first year of teaching 8th grade physical science at local junior high schools. We also conducted a follow-up observation and interview with each participant after he had moved past the beginning stage of survival in the teaching profession—once in his fourth year of public school science teaching. Through qualitative analysis of interviews, classroom observations, and teachers' written work, we identified patterns and explored commonalities and differences in Troy and Brian's views and practices tied to equity over time. In particular, we examined successes and challenges they encountered in learning to teach science for all (a) from their students, (b) from inquiry into practice, and (c) from participation in professional communities. In our implications, we suggest ways teacher educators and induction professionals can better support beginning teachers in learning to teach science to all students. In particular, we highlight the central roles both individual colleagues and collective school cultures play in aiding or impeding beginning teachers' efforts to learn from students, from practice, and from professional communities. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 586–612, 2007.