science education, pre-service teachers, early childhood education, educative curriculum
Research indicates that a proportion of elementary teachers are not comfortable teaching science to young children. These teachers are unaware of the best methods of approaching science and don't have the science background knowledge to support teaching through inquiry methods. This case study explores the role educative curriculum materials play in supporting pre-service early childhood education teachers' knowledge with science content and teaching practices. Specifically, I examine how educative materials impact pre-service teacher's content knowledge in science and their pedagogical content knowledge related to inquiry methods. Three pre-service early childhood teachers participated in this research. The teachers were initially interviewed about teaching science based upon three instruments: Views of Science Inquiry, Views of the Nature of Science and the Science Teachers Efficacy Beliefs Inventory. Each subject was observed teaching science in their internship site: the first lessons taught were guided or approved by their teachers and the next lessons were conducted using the support of educative curriculum materials. Finally, the initial instruments were once again administered along with an interview to obtain changes in teacher's knowledge, beliefs and understandings of science and science teaching. Results from this research indicate that educative curriculum was supportive of teachers in a variety of ways. Most importantly, this curriculum helped teachers to target more aspects of scientific inquiry during their science lessons than lessons without the use of educative curriculum. The important considerations regarding the effectiveness of the educative curriculum for these pre-service teachers were their underlying beliefs about how science should be taught, their uses of the curriculum materials and reflective practices regarding their own teaching. Results specifically related to early childhood educators include the level of inquiry implemented with young children and how children communicate their findings. Young children need support in their participation of inquiry learning. Successful implementation of guided inquiry practices occurred in this research. Also, the teachers in this research found insightful ways that directly supported young children in their communication of ideas. Implications for further research are also discussed. Educative materials could further support pre-service early childhood teachers if additional supports were used including accessible curricular rationales, support in classroom management and the specific use of guided inquiry.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Englehart, Deirdre, "An Exploration Of How Pre-service Early Childhood Teachers Use Educative Curriculum Materials To Support Their Science Teaching" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3528.