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ERIC Number: ED521502
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 247
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-4588-1
The Use of Parent Involved Take-Home Science Activities during Student Teaching: Understanding the Challenges of Implementation
Zarazinski, Jill
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
The purpose of this study was to identify student teachers use and implementation of "Science in a Bag" when it was no longer a required course-based assessment. This take-home science activity acted as the elaboration component of the 5Es lesson teacher candidates designed and taught in the classroom, utilized household items, and directly involved parents in their child's education. The purposeful sample was comprised of six teacher candidates during their student teaching practicum, the last semester of the childhood education teacher certification program. This collective case study centered on student teachers' use of the focused activity, "Science in a Bag", in order to gain knowledge of challenges faced in applying take-home science kits and working with parents. Data collection was comprised of student teacher and parent interviews, candidate reflections, as well as in-class observations and discussions carried out during weekly seminars. Data collection occurred throughout the seven-week student teaching practicum. The four research questions were: 1) What factors do teacher candidates identify as interfering with their ability to implement "Science in a Bag" during student teaching placements? 2) What factors do teacher candidates identify as enhancing their ability to carry out "Science in a Bag"? 3) What forms of support do teacher candidates believe are important to their success in implementing "Science in a Bag" during student teaching? 4) How do teacher candidates deal with obstacles when implementing "Science in a Bag"? Despite the fact that no student teacher was prohibited from implementing "Science in a Bag", the level to which candidates valued and utilized this instructional strategy varied compared to how they were taught and practiced it during the science methods course. Some student teachers attempted to hide their feelings toward "Science in a Bag", however their actions revealed that they were simply carrying out the instructional strategy because they had agreed to implement it, not because they appreciated its worth to students and their families. Altering candidate beliefs in one semester prior to student teaching proved difficult, especially when cooperating teachers were demonstrating and encouraging methodologies which were frowned upon during the science methods coursework. Therefore, this study also raised issues with teacher education and identified the need to better align educational philosophies taught throughout the program and those showcased by cooperating teachers if science education reform is to transpire. Teacher candidates very often abandoned the inquiry-based modes of instruction taught to them during the science methods course prior to student teaching and replaced them with ideas and suggestions from their cooperating teacher, approaches which were more traditional and teacher-centered. Cooperating teacher opinions and suggestions appeared to take precedence over what was taught and practiced during their preparation coursework. Candidates' prior beliefs and experiences with education appeared to dominate their teaching repertoire. The culmination of their own K-12 education and much of their undergraduate courses made altering their beliefs toward inquiry-based methodologies difficult during only one semester prior to student teaching. Therefore, all candidates reverted back to some level of teacher-centered, recipe-like science lessons and tasks. It was also noted that the candidates' understanding of hands-on versus inquiry learning was often blurred. Hands-on learning was often demonstrated and applauded by cooperating teachers, as well as parents, once they responded to "Science in a Bag" surveys and interviews, further supporting this misconception by praising hands-on learning and in some cases stating it was the way students learned best. Most parents were willing to and enjoyed performing these take-home family activities. Some of the most frequent parent comments related to family time, being informed about the content their child was learning in school and the child taking on the role of teacher. The level to which candidates acknowledged and embraced student and parent feedback of "Science in a Bag" differed. Finally, it became apparent that teacher educators need to acknowledge components of instruction outside content and pedagogy. Many candidates had issues when it came to designing lesson materials which were aesthetically pleasing with proper writing quality and conventions. It is clear that this component of teaching is absent and needs to be addressed throughout the program's coursework and during field experience placements. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A