What leads to effective science-teaching practices in preschool classrooms? An examination of teachers’ person, context, and time influences on science teaching

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebekah Chace Pierro (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Linda Hestenes

Abstract: 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.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory, Preschool education, Science education, Teacher development
Science $x Study and teaching (Preschool)
Teacher effectiveness
Effective teaching

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