This study explored the potential impact of teaching outside of one’s field of expertise.
This longitudinal cross-case study examined the development of enacted pedagogical content knowledge (ePCK) among a group of in-field and out-of-field (OOF) physical science teachers during their first 3 years of teaching.
The components of ePCK investigated included the knowledge and skills related to conceptual teaching strategies and student understanding of science.
Seventeen newly hired teachers teaching in and outside their field of expertise participated in the study.
The data collected included semi-structured interviews and classroom observations of the teachers.
The study’s findings showed that early career OOF physical science teachers exhibited less developed ePCK and showed more inconsistencies in their ePCK compared to their in-field counterparts.
The findings also revealed that ePCK fluctuated for most teachers, representing the tentative nature of emerging ePCK.
This study has implications for those who prepare and support newly hired teachers.