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Examining Preservice Elementary Teachers' Planning Practices in Science

Lucas-Evans, Elaine M. (2017) Examining Preservice Elementary Teachers' Planning Practices in Science. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Planning is a crucial aspect of preparing for successful teaching. Teachers plan for the lessons that they teach, however the extent to which they do this varies. Because preservice elementary teachers (PSETs) need to learn how to plan for several different subjects, their planning practices as well as their depth of content knowledge in a subject like science may not be adequate. Teaching a discipline like science requires not only an understanding of the factual information that is typically associated with such a subject, it also requires an understanding the content as well as of the types of practices used in science to build upon existing knowledge. Lesson plans that meet these requirements utilize a reform approach to teaching so that phenomena are explored before explanations are given. Additionally, all selected tasks clearly align to prescribed lesson Learning Goals so that disciplinary practices and content are present during instruction. Seventy-two PSETs created lesson sequences from a set of ten tasks to teach the concept of the density of solid objects that were provided by their science methods instructors. The task sequences were examined for two purposes: to determine if PSETs intended to use a reform or traditional approach to teaching; to examine the capabilities of PSETs to align prescribed Learning Goals to instructional tasks and their capacity to do this accurately. Findings indicate that while PSETs state that their aim is to create task sequences that make use of a reform approach to teaching, via the Learning Cycle, a traditional approach is used most often (i.e., explain before explore). In addition, while PSETs can generally select tasks that have the potential to meet all of the prescribed Learning Goals, they struggle to align content-grounded Learning Goals to the tasks that they select with accuracy. The findings for this study have implications for science teacher educators and for science teacher education.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lucas-Evans, Elaine M.eml46@pitt.edueml46
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairForman, Ellice
Committee MemberRussell, Jennifer
Committee MemberAnsell, Ellen
Date: 29 November 2017
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 November 2017
Approval Date: 30 January 2018
Submission Date: 29 January 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 96
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Preservice Elementary Science Teachers Elementary Science Lesson Planning Preservice Teacher Planning Science Preservice Teacher Science Education Learning Cycle Elementary Science Learning Goals Elementary Science
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 17:31
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2019 23:47


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