Adopting Just-in-Time Teaching in the Context of an Elementary Science Education Methodology Course

Apr. 02, 2011

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, April 2011, 77–91
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The main goal of this self-study was to determine the extent to which an instructor's pedagogical knowledge and practice would be enhanced though the use of Just-in-Time Teaching.

This self-study was guided by the following question:
How do an instructor’s pedagogical content knowledge and classroom practice develop during the adoption of the Just-in-Time Teaching strategy?

Just-In-Time Teaching (JiTT) is a teaching and learning strategy based on the interaction between web-based study assignments and face-to-face class sessions.
Students respond electronically to web-based assignments which are due shortly before class.
The teacher reads the students’ submissions “just in time” (a few hours before class) and adjusts teaching and learning activities based on the feedback provided by students in their online submissions.

Context of the Study
This self-study was completed as part of the Instructional Development Grants Program, an internal research initiative at Memorial University.
The participants in this study were 40 primary/elementary pre-service teachers enrolled
a three-credit hour science methodology course.
All students participated in the online JiTT activities as it was a mandatory course requirement.

Research Methodology
In order to examine any changes in the instructor PCK, a self-study approach was adopted.

Implementation and Data Sources
During implementation, students were asked to respond to three online scenarios.
Each scenario was designed to probe students’ understanding of a science concept that was relevant to the current provincial primary/elementary science curriculum.
The activities were provided at three points in the semester – one at the beginning, one at the midway point, and one at the end.
Data were collected through the following qualitative sources:
(a) Instructor interviews.
(b) Anectodal records: These notes were taken by the instructor's critical friend during the observation of implementation classes.
(c) Personal journal entries: The instructor kept a journal during the implementation period.
(d) Student survey.
(e) Student interviews.
(f) Student online postings: Over 175 individual responses were posted in total.


As the implementation of the project progressed, the instructor engaged in a reflective cycle of analysis to see how areas of her professional knowledge, or PCK, were being enhanced.

The findings reveal that the JiTT strategy has indeed strengthened many areas of the instructor's pedagogical content knowledge.
The JiTT activities allowed the instructor to assess easily the prior understandings of her students so that she could better address any misconceptions or gaps in their science knowledge.

The in-class follow-up to each activity also forced the instructor to expand her understanding of instructional methodologies as she attempted to increase the active participation of students who were often apprehensive about sharing or discussing their ideas about science.

JiTT was positively received by students.
More than half of the students indicated that the JiTT strategy aligned with their preferred learning styles, as it made them inquire and think about the subject matter in unique and interesting ways.
This affirmed the instructor's own ideas with respect to the importance of inquiry-based learning in science.

However, the findings reveal that many students had limited content knowledge in science and held partial and naive understandings of many scientific concepts.

The authors conclude that the instructor's first experience with self-study has been rewarding. As a research methodology, self-study provides the opportunity to reveal issues that we may not want to see.

Updated: Dec. 01, 2013