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Pre-Service Elementary Teachers Learning to Plan Modeling-Based Investigations

ABSTRACT Learning to plan modeling-based investigations (MBIs) presents significant challenges for pre-service elementary teachers. Although they understand disciplinary core ideas and modeling practices, they address both as competing learning goals and, as novices, they have not experienced how to structure MBIs for their future students. In the context of a science teacher education course, we have designed a set of pedagogical supports around a biology-specific epistemic tool to help pre-service elementary teachers meet those challenges. This study builds the case of how a group of four pre-service elementary teachers learns to plan MBIs while working with the designed supports. We use the professional vision as a theoretical and analytical framework to characterize the group’s learning through discourses to build shared professional understandings of planning MBIs around biology core ideas. Analysis focused on their highlighting and coding of relevant aspects of disciplinary core ideas, modeling, and structuring MBIs, as well as their creation and use of material representations. The findings illustrate that: a) epistemic negotiation supports the group in integrating biology core ideas and modeling practices when developing explanatory models, and b) pedagogical negotiation, through the de-construction of those explanatory models, supports the group structuring of a MBI, including a natural phenomenon and questions students can investigate in a coherent sequence. We discuss how a biology-specific epistemic tool embedded in pedagogical supports helps pre-service teachers learn to plan MBIs by facilitating both epistemic and pedagogical negotiations.

Pedagogical Factors Affecting the Translation of Pedagogical Content Knowledge About Electrostatics into Practice

ABSTRACT Teaching practice internships provide opportunities for pre-service teachers (PSTs) to enact their knowledge in real classroom settings. This paper investigated PSTs’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) about electrostatics, its translation into practice and factors that affect the translation. The refined consensus model (RCM) of PCK served as theoretical framework. Guided by the RCM, two manifestations of enacted PCK (ePCK) focusing on lesson planning (ePCKP) and teaching (ePCKT) were investigated. Data reflecting ePCKP was collected using content representations (CoRe) tools and lesson planning forms. Data reflecting the ePCKT was explored using classroom observations. The components of the grand PCK rubric served as the analytical framework. These are teacher knowledge and skills related to (i) curricular saliency, (ii) learners’ understanding of concepts, and (iii) conceptual teaching strategies including representations. These components were used to analyze the manifestations of ePCK before they were compared. Components that revealed variations between ePCKP and ePCKT were used to formulate interview questions to elicit the pedagogical factors that affected the translation of the PCK into practice. The results revealed multiple instances where there were misalignments between ePCKP and ePCKT. The misalignments were ascribed to the following pedagogical factors: interactions with learners, the involvement of mentor teachers, reflections, management of time for teaching concepts, and teacher efficacy. The results have implications for PST education and mentorship during teaching practice internships.

Using Small-Group Discussion to Foster In-Service Teachers’ Comprehension and Instruction of Sustainable Energy Transitions through PV Science

ABSTRACT This study examined the impact of a practice-based approach to in-service science teacher education, using small-group discussions about photovoltaic (PV) science to support teachers’ instruction on sustainable energy transitions in response to climate change risks. Ultimately, we aimed to promote teachers’ PV science comprehension as well as their ability to use small-group discussions productively in their future classrooms. In-service teachers (N = 6) participated in a five-week summer Solar Energy Engineering Research Experience for Teachers program where they read a series of scientific articles, attended presentations, and engaged in small-group Quality Talk discussions, all about solar energy as a sustainable technology for post-carbon energy futures. Using a qualitative content analysis approach, we gathered evidence associated with both the indicators of high-level comprehension evidenced within the talk as well as teachers’ individual PV science knowledge before and after each discussion. We also collected data related to teachers’ instructional intentions via lesson plans and their self-reported future use of classroom discussions. Numerous indicators of high-level comprehension were present within the talk and teachers evidenced growth in their PV science knowledge from pretest to posttest. Additionally, teachers not only infused their lesson plans with the PV science topics they discussed, but they also expressed intentions to teach PV science using discussions in their future classrooms. Findings suggest in-service teachers can benefit from opportunities to engage in a practice-based approach emphasizing discussions, resulting in not only enhanced PV science comprehension but also intentions to enact discussions about the learned content in their future classrooms.

Justice-Centered STEM Education with Multilingual Learners: Conceptual Framework and Initial Inquiry into Pre-Service Teachers’ Sense-Making

ABSTRACT When pressing societal challenges (e.g., COVID-19, access to clean water) are sidelined in science classrooms, science education fails to leverage the knowledge and experiences of minoritized students in school, thus reproducing injustices in society. Our conceptual framework for justice-centered STEM education engages all students in multiple STEM subjects, including data science and computer science, to explain and design solutions to pressing societal challenges and their disproportionate impact on minoritized groups. In the first part of this article, we extend our conceptual framework by articulating the affordances of justice-centered STEM education for one minoritized student group that has been traditionally denied meaningful STEM learning experiences: multilingual learners (MLs). Justice-centered STEM education with MLs leverages the assets that MLs bring to STEM learning, including their transnational knowledge and experiences as well as their rich repertoire of meaning-making resources, thus refuting deficit narratives of these students. To illustrate the affordances of justice-centered STEM education with MLs, we draw on examples from our instructional unit that engages students in the pressing societal challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second part of the article, we report on an initial inquiry into how 14 undergraduate pre-service teachers made sense of our conceptual framework after participating in lessons from our COVID-19 instructional unit. Findings indicated that pre-service teachers perceived both opportunities and obstacles of justice-centered STEM education with MLs. We close by discussing what it might take to prepare the next generation of teachers to disrupt systemic injustices in and out of school.

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