The Development of Preservice Elementary Teachers' Curricular Role Identity for Science Teaching

Sep. 30, 2008

Source: Science Education. Vol. 92, Iss. 5; p. 909. Sep 2008

Curriculum materials are a crucial tool with which teachers engage in teaching practice.
For preservice teachers to learn to use science curriculum materials in productive ways, they must develop a conception of themselves as elementary teachers in which the use of science curriculum materials is a valued dimension of science-teaching practice.

The authors define those dimensions of teachers' professional role identities concerned with the use of curriculum materials as curricular role identity. This mixed-methods study examines preservice elementary teachers' development of curricular role identity for science teaching through their use of science curriculum materials.

Forty-seven preservice elementary teachers in two sections of an elementary science methods course were studied over the course of one semester. Data sources include survey results from preservice teachers in both course sections as well as interviews, observations, and course artifacts from preservice teachers studied in-depth.

Results suggest preservice teachers articulate important differences between their own and more experienced elementary teachers' curricular role identity for science teaching and make progress toward appropriating the latter. Supporting them to do so requires emphasizing interactions with science curriculum materials as part of teacher education and providing classroom-based experiences through which they can put their developing curricular role identities into action.

Updated: Nov. 10, 2008