Early career secondary science teachers: A longitudinal study of beliefs in relation to field experiences

  • Fletcher S
  • Luft J
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Abstract

This 3-year longitudinal study explores the evolving beliefs of five prospec- tive secondary science teachers in a university preparation program from recruitment through their first year in the classroom. As an interpretive qualitative study, data were collected through semistructured interviews and an array of artifacts. The data sources were used to construct cases,which led to a cross-case analysis to understand the important themes in the project. There are three important conclusions from this study. First, the teachers’ beliefs about teaching initially shift to a contemporary focus while participating in their teacher preparation program, but ultimately return to a didactic orientation by theirfirst year in the classroom. At the same time, the teachers’ beliefs about learning remain consistently more contemporary in nature. Finally, when the participants were enrolled in coursework with a field placement that emphasized reform-based teaching, their beliefs about teaching and learning were impacted in different ways based on the context of the placement and the individual. The findings from this study contribute to a deeper under- standing of the development of science teacher’s beliefs about teaching and learning and the role that early field experiences play from preservice education through the induction years.

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Authors

  • Steven S. Fletcher

  • Julie A. Luft

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