Science is a natural conduit for children to learn about, and interact with, the natural world (McClure et al., 2017), yet early childhood classrooms are reported as having fewer science learning opportunities, and teachers have more missed teachable moments (Greenfield et al., 2009; Tu, 2006). In an effort to understand the influences of science instruction in early care and education classrooms, four preschool teachers were interviewed about their past and present science-related teaching and learning experiences. Classroom observations also were conducted to capture science-teaching practices and types of science disciplines covered in classroom activities. Using Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) as a framework, the person characteristics and the systems of context and the influence of time regarding these teachers’ science experiences were considered within their ability to shape current classroom practices. The research questions focused on what past and present formal and informal science learning experiences influenced science-teaching practices and how those experiences affected the facilitation of science in these classrooms. Results indicated that prior science learning experiences and personal characteristics did influence science instruction. The systems of context plus past science learning experiences, as well as science-teaching beliefs, science self-efficacy, and science and math anxiety, were all critical to how these teachers implemented science activities in their classrooms. Links between specific aspects of the interviews and observations provided evidence to support the importance of past and present science-related learning experiences for teacher development in current science-teaching practices.
|Advisor:||Hestenes, Linda L.|
|Commitee:||Scott-Little, Catherine, La Paro, Karen, Tudge, Jonathan|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Greensboro|
|Department:||School of Health and Human Sciences: Human Development and Family Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Science education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory, Preschool education, Teacher development|
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