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January 2020


What research has been conducted on preservice science teacher education?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on preservice science teacher education. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed preservice science teacher education. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist."

Research References

  1. Erdogan, I., & Ciftci, A. (2017). Investigating the views of pre-service science teachers on STEM education practices. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 12(5), 1055-1065.
    From the abstract: "It has given importance to the development of 21st century skills in every aspect of life. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education has played an important role to improve these skills and teachers are expected to be able to organize learning environments accordingly. The purpose of this research is to examine the pre-service science teachers' views on STEM education practices. The case study method was used in this research and participants of the research are 7 pre-service science teachers (4 female, 3 male). In the research STEM activities were applied during 8 weeks. The data of this research were collected through semi-structured interviews. The content analysis was used for data analysis and data were converted to the tables. During the interviews, it was noted that the pre-service science teachers wanted to apply STEM education when they become teachers; they wanted to get advanced knowledge about STEM education. In addition, pre-service science teachers have expressed their opinions on the basic rationale, benefits and limitations of STEM education, and have made proposals for the development and dissemination of STEM education. Pre-service science teachers learned about STEM education and how to implement it, by the help of STEM education practices that was conducted within the scope of this research. Pre-service teachers who are future teachers need to be informed and trained about STEM education."
  2. Erduran, S., & Kaya, E. (2018). Drawing nature of science in pre-service science teacher education: Epistemic insight through visual representations. Research in Science Education, 48(6), 1133-1149.
    From the abstract: "Developing pre-service science teachers' epistemic insight remains a challenge, despite decades of research in related bodies of work such as the nature of science (NOS) in science education. While there may be numerous aspects to this problem, one critical element is that the NOS is a meta-concept that demands higher-order cognitive skills. One possible strategy to facilitate pre-service teachers' understanding of epistemic aspects of science is visualisation. Visual representations of objects and processes can be tools for developing and monitoring understanding. Although the NOS and visualisation literatures have been studied extensively, the intersection of these bodies of literatures has been minimal. Incorporating visual tools on the NOS in teacher education is likely to facilitate teachers' learning, eventually impacting their students' learning of the NOS. The objective of this paper is to illustrate how the visual tools of scientific knowledge and practices aspects of the NOS can be integrated in science teacher education in order to develop pre-service teachers' epistemic insight. The paper presents an empirical study that incorporated visual tools about the NOS in primary science teacher education. Data on 14 pre-service teachers' are presented along with in-depth case studies of 3 pre-service teachers illustrating the influence of the teacher education intervention. The qualitative analysis of visual representations before and after the intervention as well as verbal data suggests that there was improvement in pre-service teachers' perceptions of the NOS. Implications for future research on visualisation of the NOS are discussed."
  3. Feyzioglu, B. (2019). Examination of laboratory perceptions of pre-service science teachers with different goal orientations on inquiry-based analytical chemistry courses: A case study. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 7(3), 281-310.
    From the abstract: "In this research, the laboratory perceptions of pre-service science teachers with different goal orientations in analytical chemistry courses in which an inquiry-based laboratory approach had been adopted were examined in a case study. From the pre-interviews conducted with 37 pre-service science teachers, 3 preservice science teachers with different goal orientations were identified using the purposive criterion sampling method. The pre-service science teachers' laboratory perceptions and goal orientations were monitored for a period of 11 weeks and this process was implemented via reflective diaries, experiment reports and interviews. At the end of the research, the perceptions of the laboratory among the pre-service science teachers whose initial goal orientation had been avoidance of performance remained as confirmation and deductive during the 11 weeks. This fact notwithstanding, a change did occur in the laboratory perceptions of pre-service science teachers who had adopted a performance and mastery approach during the inquiry process. It was determined that during the inquiry process, the pre-service science teachers' perceptions of the laboratory were shaped by their goal orientations. This was discussed together with the underlying reasons in terms of the open-endedness and integration dimensions of laboratory perceptions."
  4. Kaya, E., Erduran, S., Aksoz, B., & Akgun, S. (2019). Reconceptualised family resemblance approach to nature of science in pre-service science teacher education. International Journal of Science Education, 41(1), 21-47.
    From the abstract: "A recent framework on nature of science (NOS) is the Family Resemblance Approach (FRA). FRA presents NOS as a cognitive-epistemic and social-institutional system with a set of categories: aims and values, scientific methods, scientific practices, scientific knowledge and social-institutional aspects of science. Although FRA has been problematised philosophically and its implications for science education have been considered by science educators, its empirical adaptations in science education are limited. In order to illustrate the educational adaptations of FRA, we refer to Reconceptualised Family Resemblance Approach to Nature of Science or RFN. We present a study based on a funded pre-service science teacher education project whose aim was to design, implement and evaluate the impact of RFN strategies. Fifteen pre-service teachers participated in a 14-week teacher education intervention that infused RFN. A 70-item questionnaire was designed to investigate the outcomes of the teacher education intervention. Individual interviews with pre-service teachers were also conducted. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis suggest that the teacher education intervention had an overall significant impact on pre-service teachers' views of NOS. The paper contributes to the understanding of how NOS can be incorporated in science teacher education using a new orientation to NOS based on FRA."
  5. Khan, S., & Krell, M. (2019). Scientific reasoning competencies: A case of preservice teacher education. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 19(4), 446-464.
    From the abstract: "In this study, we analysed the scientific reasoning competencies of preservice science teachers from a Canadian sample at the beginning and end of a science teacher education methods course. The course contained standard topics, such as the nature of science, assessment, and unit and lesson planning in science. The preservice science teachers were asked to reason about two types of problems in a validated pre- and post-questionnaire: investigatory-process problems and problems regarding modeling. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that the course significantly contributed to the development of preservice science teachers' competencies for those who had two previous degrees compared with those that did not. Furthermore, a greater proportion of teachers were deemed highly competent at planning investigations and testing models than the more generative dimensions of scientific reasoning, such as formulating questions and generating hypotheses. Implications for science teacher education internationally and the movement towards competency-based curricula are put forward."
  6. Murphy, C., Scantlebury, K., & Milne, C. (2015). Using Vygotsky's zone of proximal development to propose and test an explanatory model for conceptualising coteaching in pre-service science teacher education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 281-295.
    From the abstract: "Coteaching offers a model for the school-placement element of pre-service science teacher education, based on its demonstrated positive impacts on lessening classroom anxiety, supporting inquiry-based science teaching, improving students' attitudes, and addressing diversity effectively in science classrooms. Coteaching between pre-service and in-service teachers is used to lessen the gap between theory and practice, to develop reflective practice and to develop pedagogical content knowledge. Explanatory frameworks have been proposed for coteaching, and we suggest that Vygotsky's zone of proximal development helps to propose a more nuanced developmental and learning explanatory framework which provides pedagogical structures for implementation and highlights the importance of the social environment for learning. In providing structure and tools for effective implementation of coteaching, our model addresses three core elements of coteaching: coplanning, copractice, and coevaluation. The model was piloted in relation to pre-service teachers' development in reflective practice and reducing the gap between theory and classroom practice."
  7. Sonmez, D., & Hakverdi-Can, M. (2012). Videos as an instructional tool in pre-service science teacher education. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 46, 141-158.
    From the abstract: "Problem Statement: Student teaching is an integral part of teacher education. While it provides preservice teachers with real classroom experience, though, it is limited in that it does not provide shared experience. Used as instructional tools, videos provide a shared common experience in a controlled environment to pre-service teachers in teacher education. Video use as a part of teacher education requires that student teachers be skilled in observation and ability to notice. However, in many cases, pre-service teachers' observation skills and ability to discern the effects of different strategies are neither questioned nor investigated. Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of video use on pre-service teachers' ability to observe and evaluate teaching practices and explore how that ability develops. Methods: This study was conducted with the participation of 26 senior pre-service science and technology teachers who were enrolled in a teacher practice course during the fall semester of their fourth-year undergraduate education program. Three different videos were used as instructional tools; participating pre-service teachers were asked to evaluate the teaching practice in each video. A three-item questionnaire was used for data collection purposes. Findings and Results: The findings of the study suggest that, initially, pre-service teachers failed to notice details and were only partially able to recognize the main features of a teaching practice. Most participant comments focused on what the teacher was doing rather than on students. As time progressed, participants' ability to notice instructional strategies was found to be developed through use of videos. Conclusions and Recommendations: Through use of videos, pre-service teachers' selective attention and ability to perceive details of a teaching practice was found to be improved. Since the ability to notice is an important skill for novice teachers, based on the finding of this study, video use is recommended as a part of teacher education."
  8. Sumen, O. O., & Calisici, H. (2016). The associating abilities of pre-service teachers science education program acquisitions with engineering according to STEM education. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(33), 117-123.
    From the abstract: "The aim of this study is to determine the associating abilities of elementary education pre-service teachers science education program acquisitions with engineering using STEM education. In the study which is a case study, firstly pre-service teachers were trained about the STEM education approach. Then "Elementary School Science Education Program Acquisitions-STEM Activities Form" was applied asking the subjects to prepare activities associating elementary education science lessons acquisitions with engineering. After the application of the form, semi-structured interviews were conducted to ask pre-service teachers' opinions about STEM education, using STEM in elementary education science lessons and the activities they had written in the form. An analysis of the data showed that pre-service teachers could easily associate elementary school science program acquisitions and the field of engineering. A variety of activities were given that could be conducted in the elementary education science lessons. Interviewed teachers gave positive feedback to the approach and stated that it is an educational approach that must be applied to lessons."


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Pre-service science teacher education
  • CScience Education, Preservice Teacher Education

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.