Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 24, No. 3, 228–249, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed to explore the nature of changes in pre-service science teachers’ (PSTs’) self-efficacy beliefs toward science teaching through a mixed-methods approach.
The participants in this study were comprised of 36 PSTs studying in a four-year Bachelor of Science Teacher Education program at a public university in a southeastern province of Turkey. They enrolled in a science methods course that included a collaborative peer microteaching (Cope-M).
Participants’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs were measured using paired t-test procedures on Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument-B before and after the course. Additionally, structured interviews were conducted with six PSTs. After the Cope-M process, participants continued their education in two subsequent terms, spending time observing professional teaching practices and being involved in science teaching practice in a local middle school. Finally, besides administering the self-efficacy scale again, a questionnaire regarding final perceptions of science teaching and microteaching was administered.
The findings revealed that microteaching sessions provided pre-service teachers experiences in a controlled and supportive environment. The microteaching process also provided vicarious experiences to the PSTs through observation of teaching performance of teammates and other participants.
The Cope-M process created a practice of discussion-based and supportive teaching to shift the PSTs’ teaching practice to a more robust understanding. Consequently, microteaching phases have a rich environment in terms of cognitive and affective support development of professional teacher behaviors (performance). This supportive environment allowed the PSTs to replay and evaluate the events.
Furthermore, the findings suggested that the level of self-efficacy beliefs toward science teaching were positively affected by the Cope-M and were affected slightly negatively after early field experiences. The artificiality effect and reality shock may be the dominant problem associated with Cope-M and may have negatively impacted PSTs’ instructional competence and science teaching efficacy beliefs in real classroom settings. Encountering some spontaneous problems in real classroom settings might negatively affect PSTs’ efficacy levels about teaching practice and might also affect negatively their science teaching efficacy beliefs.
The results revealed from the qualitative data echoed that the PSTs’ interest in science content, achievements during their pre-university education, and views about science teaching depend on their pre-university education in a way. So, it seems that university science lessons may not change PSTs’ sense of efficacy levels, interest or perceptions about science content.
Many PSTs thought that the content knowledge is more important than the teaching ability. The responses the PSTs gave during group interview and to survey about their sense of efficacy in science teaching were specifically oriented toward content knowledge and not toward teaching skills. This situation may be attributed to their traditionalist view of teaching as the transfer of content knowledge from teacher to student through lecture-based teaching. Thus, lack of content knowledge was perceived as the most important problem by the PSTs for teaching practice.
The results also implied that the PSTs’ traditionalist view of teaching cannot respond to expectations of today’s information society from teachers. Hence, teacher educators may choose to incorporate additional authentic experiences in an effort to cultivate perceptions of what teaching skills a modern teacher should demonstrate.