Journal of Educational Research and Practice




Prospective elementary teachers may enter their teacher education program having experienced science more as a collection of definitions and facts than in ways that support rich engagement with scientific phenomena. As a result, their visions of themselves as science teachers may not align with the most recent understandings about how to teach science to support student learning. Science methods courses are settings that have the potential to shift prospective teachers’ visions of science teaching. We used an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach with collection of survey data followed by interviews with selected participants. We analyzed how prospective elementary teachers’ visions of science teaching shifted over the course of a one-semester science methods course and what experiences they felt most influenced their visions of teaching science. We found that the visions of science teaching shifted towards or maintained alignment with the principles of science teaching introduced in the science methods course. Additionally, the prospective teachers identified model science activities and explicit connections between these activities and how students learn science as having influenced them in terms of how they thought about teaching science.