Questioning The Prevailing Narrative About Elementary Science Teachers: An Analysis Of The Experiences Of Science Teacher Enthusiasts

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel E. Wilson , Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: The purpose of this study is to challenge the prevailing negative narrative related to elementary science teaching by investigating the experiences of elementary teachers who identify as science teacher enthusiasts (STEs). Holland, Lachiotte, Skinner, and Cain (1998)'s conception of identity as an ongoing production or construction in a socio-cultural context served as a theoretical framing for exploring structural and personal supports and constraints related to the development of elementary teachers’ science teaching identities. Through interviews with 13 inservice elementary teachers with a range of experience (1–40 years), we found that students’ enthusiasm for science, connections with other enthusiasts, and opportunities for integrating science with other content areas were the major supports for consistent science teaching. Positive emotions associated with these supports helped the participants mitigate constraints such as lack of time, resources, testing, and not feeling comfortable with the science content frequently associated with portraits of elementary teachers. By understanding the experiences of STEs, science educators can use their role as preservice educators and professional developers to provide these supports to bolster the science teaching identity trajectories of individuals with whom they work.

Additional Information

Bradbury, LU, Wilson, RE. Questioning the prevailing narrative about elementary science teachers: An analysis of the experiences of science teacher enthusiasts. Science Education. 2020; 104: 421– 445. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2020
elementary science teachers, emotion, enthusiasm, identity, inservice teachers

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