Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Scaffolding preservice teachers' noticing of elementary students' scientific thinking
by Hawkins, Susan R., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2016, 192; 10131349
Abstract (Summary)

To effectively meet students’ needs, educational reform in science calls for adaptive instruction based on students’ thinking. To gain an understanding of what students know, a teacher needs to attend to, probe, and analyze student thinking to provide information to base curricular decisions, upon. These three components make up the skill of noticing. Learning to notice is not easy for any teacher, but is especially difficult for preservice teachers, who lack the experience these skills require. Additionally they lack the professional knowledge needed to inform responses.

The purpose of this study was to discover how a combination of scaffolds: video-based reflection on practice, a professional learning community, and a content specific moderator as a guide can be embedded into a methods course to support preservice teachers’ learning to professionally notice elementary students’ scientific thinking in order to provide a responsive curriculum. The study was designed on the premise that the skill of professional noticing is critical for preservice teachers to acquire the knowledge and ability to develop their personal PCK and topic specific professional knowledge.

It was situated in a methods course as this is the structure provided within teacher education programs to tie theory to practice. This qualitative case study, studied one section of an elementary science methods course during teaching of their science unit. In general participants’ skills progressed from noticing the class as a whole to attending to specific students’ thinking and from a focus on evaluation to interpretation. By the end they were connecting teaching strategies to student thinking. How participants’ responded to what they had noticed progressed as well, moving from frontloading information to creating additional constructivist based learning experiences when encountering student confusion demonstrating growth in their professional knowledge as well as their noticing skills.

They attributed certain aspects of their growth to different parts the intervention, for instance learning to probe thinking to video, learning to construct learning experiences to the content specific moderator, and learning to decide next steps to the professional learning community.

This study points to the efficacy of employing these scaffolds, found useful in other contexts, within science education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Park Rogers, Meredith
Commitee: Akerson, Valarie, Carspecken, Lucinda, Flinders, David, Gallindo, Enrique, Park Rogers, Meredith
School: Indiana University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Elementary education, Teacher education, Science education
Keywords: Preservice professional learning communities, Professional noticing, Science teacher education, Students' scientific thinking, Subject specific moderator, Video based reflection
Publication Number: 10131349
ISBN: 9781339891507
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