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Abstract

Teachers can perpetuate stereotypic cultural beliefs regarding girls' ability in, aptitude for, and suitability for science by their teaching practices and behaviors. As teachers have a major influence on girls' career choices their equitable teaching practices in the classroom are important to encourage all students, but especially girls, to continue with science. Researchers have studied science classrooms and have defined common strategies and practices that can help create an equitable classroom environment. The purpose of this study was to determine if high school biology student teachers could transfer learned equitable teaching strategies to actual teaching and the support conditions necessary for that transfer. Two support conditions were assessed: cooperating teacher and peer group support. Seven preservice teachers were placed into three groups. One group had both support conditions, the second group had only one condition (peer support), and the third group did not have either support condition. Both qualitative and quantitative data sources were collected. Results showed that preservice teachers could transfer learned equitable teaching into actual teaching practice. However, they were more successful in achieving the transfer if they were supervised by cooperating teachers who are sensitized to the issue of gender equity in education. Being involved in a peer support group was not as crucial to using the strategies as having a supportive cooperative teacher.