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Incorporating Science and Engineering Practices Into Preservice Secondary Science Teachers’ Planning Practices: Testing the Efficacy of an Intervention

Wargo, Brian M. (2014) Incorporating Science and Engineering Practices Into Preservice Secondary Science Teachers’ Planning Practices: Testing the Efficacy of an Intervention. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The New Standards Framework (NRC, 2012) explicitly calls for teachers to engage students in science and engineering practices (SEPs) as they develop knowledge of scientific phenomena and canonical disciplinary ideas. This study analyzed six pre-service secondary science teachers’ (PSSSTs’) incorporation of SEPs into their planning practices before, during, and after an instructional intervention. The intervention, which was nested into an instructional methods course, supported the PSSSTs by representing the practices they were to engage their own students with. The PSSSTs were then able to decompose and approximate those scientific practices in their lesson planning, thereby developing pedagogical design capacity (PDC). The PSSSTs were interviewed to determine what affordances and constraints they felt when planning for incorporating SEPs into their lesson planning.

Analysis of the lesson plans showed that 50% of the PSSSTs incorporated SEPs into their lesson plans when only provided a written description of the SEPs and prompted to do so. During the instructional intervention, 83% of the PSSSTs incorporated SEPs into their lesson plans. After the instructional intervention, the PSSSTs were no longer required to incorporate SEPs into their lesson planning nor were they required to hand in lesson plans for a grade. Instead, they wrote lesson plans for their cooperating teachers and for their own use. Surprisingly, the PSSSTs not only continued to incorporate SEPs into their lessons, but did so more completely by incorporating a diversity of sub-SEPs and more of them in their lessons. This is significant because this may indicate that the instructional intervention has longevity.

Interview data suggests that PSSSTs experience both internal and external affordances and constrains when attempting to incorporate SEPs into their lesson planning. Three categories of issues (epistemic, logistical, and curricular) emerged in the results and influence how teachers interact with the SEPs as they plan lessons. This study reiterates the need for teacher educators to engage in instruction that represents aspects of scientific practice, allows for its decomposition, and engages pre-service teachers in approximating those practices.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wargo, Brian
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCartier, Jennifer L.jcartier@pitt.eduJCARTIER
Committee MemberAnsell, Ellenansell@pitt.eduANSELL
Committee MemberDonato, Richarddonato@pitt.eduDONATO
Committee MemberPellathy, Stephen
Date: 10 June 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2014
Approval Date: 10 June 2014
Submission Date: 22 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 190
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science and Engineering Practices, New Standards Framework, Inquiry, Science Education, Teacher Education
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2014 12:33
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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