Science instruction in elementary schools can be poorly defined, of low status, and taught by teachers with inadequate subject knowledge (Shulman, 2015). This confusion can lead to low teacher confidence, morale, and professional dissatisfaction which may contribute to high attrition rates and diminished value of science teaching and learning (Alliance for Excellence in Education, 2014; Johnson, 2006; MetLife, 2013). Research has been useful in defining and conceptualizing teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in science and how the construct of PCK supports the professional work of science teachers. Using a new conceptualization of PCK, the model of teacher professional knowledge and skill that includes PCK (TPK&S) (Gess-Newsome, 2015), this study investigates the perceptions fifth grade teachers have of their orientations within the specific context of the specialist science classroom. Teacher interview and observational data along with data collected from a card-sort, documents, and artifacts, is analyzed to identify components of and influences on science teaching orientations. This study provides new understandings of the orientations of specialist elementary science teachers which may prove beneficial to inform school and district policy related to departmentalization at the elementary level, and to refine the TPK&S model for understanding the perspectives of elementary science teachers.
|Advisor:||Sikorski, Tifffany-Rose J.|
|Commitee:||Beck, Sylven, Swayze, Susan|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Curriculum & Instruction|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Science education, Elementary education, Teacher education, Information science, Educational administration, Educational leadership, Education Policy|
|Keywords:||Elementary schools, Orientations, Pedagogical content knowledge, Specialization, Inadequate subject knowledge, Attrition rates, Science classrooms, Teaching orientations, Departmentalization|
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