Theses Doctoral

"You Can't Do Everything": In Search of Better, More Equitable Secondary Science Methods Courses

Entress, Cole Joseph

As part of their initial teacher education, most aspiring middle and high school science teachers take one or more semesters of coursework in the methods of teaching science. Surprisingly little is known about the curriculum of secondary science methods courses, however. This exploratory study aimed to better understand the goals and content of secondary science methods courses, especially regarding their adoption of two important schools of reform in science education: the vision of instruction conveyed by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, and calls to foreground diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in science instruction.

Three forms of data were collected. First, institutions were surveyed regarding which science teacher preparation standards their methods courses addressed (n = 27). Faculty at a subset of these institutions (n = 15) participated in a semi-structured interview about their methods courses, and provided, in most cases, syllabi for the courses in their science methods sequence (n = 35 course syllabi, from 13 institutions).

All three pools of data were analyzed individually and then compared. Data suggest that secondary science methods courses may be taking on more goals than they can practically achieve, rendering them unable to engage sufficiently with reforms like the Framework and DEI. More significant engagement with these reforms seems likely to require two things: more coherent teacher education programs that allow methods courses to focus on fewer goals in greater depth, and networks of science teacher educators dedicated to promoting better, more equitable science teaching among candidates.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felica
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 27, 2022