A Confucian Framework For Categorizing Elementary Pre-service Teachers Expectations Of Their Science Methods Course

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Richard P. Hechter
Lynette D. McGregor

Keywords

Elementary Science Methods, Confucian wisdom, Preservice Teacher, Expectations

Abstract

Science teacher educators strive to improve their elementary science methods courses through modification of existing content, activities, or teaching technique. But what do the enrolled preservice teachers expect to learn from these courses and how do they expect to learn it? This study qualitatively examines preservice elementary teachers’ expectations of: their science methods course, the activities of the course, the instructor, and of themselves. Upon entry to the elementary science methods course at two Midwestern colleges in the Fall term of 2008, preservice teachers (n=37) were asked to articulate what they expected to learn and how they expected to learn it. Their written responses were coded and categorized into one of three areas: imitation, reflection, and experience. These three categories, as a philosophical theoretical framework, stem from Confucius who suggested that the aforementioned areas were the keys to gaining wisdom. It is important, that as science teacher educators, we understand how our students expect to gain wisdom about their profession from our course.  It is our contention that preservice teachers' expectations of their elementary science methods course prior to the commencement of the course have far reaching effects into the context in which they engage within the course.

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