Potential teachers' appropriate and inappropriate application of pedagogical resources in a model-based physics course: A “knowledge in pieces” perspective on teacher learning

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Abstract

We used a “knowledge in pieces” perspective on teacher learning to document undergraduates' pedagogical resources in a model-based physics course for potential teachers. We defined pedagogical resources as small, discrete ideas about teaching science that are applied appropriately or inappropriately in specific contexts. Neither right nor wrong, all pedagogical resources can be used to build toward a more sophisticated pedagogical stance. We collected three kinds of data across this 11-week course: videotapes of class sessions, undergraduates' written assignments and projects, and individual interviews. We qualitatively analyzed these data for pedagogical resources that undergraduates applied both appropriately and inappropriately to make sense of the large concept of model-based science instruction. We identified four such resources: (1) the teacher's role is to provide the right answer, (2) guiding students is less certain than telling them (the right answer), (3) a good model includes scientific terms, and (4) children are creative thinkers. We examined the ways potential teachers' inappropriate application of these four pedagogical resources interfered with their attempts to understand science teaching through modeling. We also explored how seemingly problematic small ideas about teaching were applied appropriately toward a more nuanced description of model-based science instruction. In our discussion and implications, we recommended ways content course instructors and science education researchers can identify and build from potential teachers' pedagogical resources to help them better understand the large concept of model-based science instruction. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 50: 1098–1126, 2013

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