“I Will Fight. I Will Advocate. I Will Tell Others”: The Impacts of the Deliberate Attention to Caring about Effective Elementary Science Instruction in a Methods Course

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Journal of Science Teacher Education


Taylor & Francis




Given the myriad mandates and policies related to math and language arts education, U.S. public elementary teachers must care about teaching science for it to actually happen. Consequently, this study sought to explore the impacts of assignments in a science methods course supporting teacher candidates (TCs) in caring about effective elementary science instruction (EESI). Different from other teacher dispositions, this study defines caring about elementary EESI as having the ability to articulate the value it provides to students and society and internalize the importance such that one is driven to teach science at a high level, even if they must overcome obstacles. Data were collected via two care-focused assignments, a pre/post-survey, and an interview. Findings indicate that a) for many, this course was the first time they realized the value of EESI; b) the care-focused assignments in the course allowed TCs to flesh out arguments as to why elementary science is important; and c) TCs were more assertive and specific about actions they will take in the future to support and/or advocate for EESI. Explicitly attending to the notion of caring about EESI in a science methods course is necessary if instructors are to support TCs in teaching EESI.