In the present study we ask how beginning class teachers react to the school culture they encounter when starting to teach. Especially we are interested in their thoughts about sciences and teaching of sciences. Altogether 9 pre- and in-service teachers participated in the present investigation. The teachers were asked to write an essay telling about their background, how they have experienced their studies of sciences, what their opinions about the nature of science are, and about their experiences of teaching sciences. These essays form the body of analysis in this study. One half of the teachers have studied sciences to a higher degree than needed for a class teacher exam. It seems that such teachers volunteered to participate in the present investigation that had an interest in sciences. Teachers point out that science is connected to every-day experiences and that no one can live on earth without being confronted with sciences. Beginning teachers think that sciences, as well as most other subjects, are treated rather superficially in the teacher education; the intention is assumed to be that teachers should deepen their knowledge where needed. It is stated that good instruction presupposes good subject matter knowledge. Teachers want to build on the prior knowledge of the students and hope to keenly involve themselves in students’ interests and skills. Pre-service teachers want to apply an investigative, student activating and variable attitude to their teaching. However, in reality in-service teachers note that lack of time and experimental equipment makes it difficult to allow students to work in small groups and perform their own experiments. Integration of different subjects into larger entities and collaboration between teachers are suggested as means to overcome these hindrances.
|Keywords:||Teacher Education, Teaching of Sciences, Prior Knowledge, Investigative Attitude, Primary School, Teachers’ Thinking|
Associated researcher, Department of Applied Education, University of Joensuu, Espoo, Finland
Senior Assistant, Department of Applied Education, University of Joensuu, Joensuu, Finland
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