The present study was designed to identify and characterize the major factors that influence entering science teacher candidates' preferences for different types of instructional activities, and to analyze what these factors suggest about teacher candidates' orientations towards science teaching. The study involved prospective teachers enrolled in the introductory science teaching course in an undergraduate science teacher preparation program. Our analysis was based on data collected using a teaching and learning beliefs questionnaire, together with structured interviews. Our results indicate that entering science teacher candidates have strong preferences for a few activity types. The most influential factors driving entering science teacher candidates' selections were the potential of the instructional activities to motivate students, be relevant to students' personal lives, result in transfer of skills to non-science situations, actively involve students in goal-directed learning, and implement curriculum that represents what students need to know. This set of influencing factors suggests that entering science teacher candidates' orientations towards teaching are likely driven by one or more of these three central teaching goals: (1) motivating students, (2) developing science process skills, and (3) engaging students in structured science activities. These goals, and the associated beliefs about students, teaching, and learning, can be expected to favor the development or enactment of three major orientations towards teaching in this population of future science teachers: "motivating students," "process," and "activity-driven."
- Orientations towards teaching
- Pedagogical content knowledge
- Teacher beliefs
- Teacher thinking
ASJC Scopus subject areas