Pre-service science teachers' beliefs related to teaching and learning with socioscientific issues
Socioscientific issues (SSI) are the hallmark of a reform-oriented approach to science teaching and learning (Sadler, Foulk, and Friedrichsen, 2017) that foregrounds controversial and unstructured societal challenges with substantive connections to science ideas, as contexts for students' learning about science and its societal implications (Borgerding and Dagistan, 2018; Kolstجü, 2006; Owens, Sadler, and Friedrichsen, 2019). Although many K-12 science teachers express support for SSI and its numerous learner benefits (Sadler, 2004; Zeidler, 2014), even teachers who hold this view tend to utilize SSI inconsistently and superficially, if at all (Lee and Witz, 2009; Sadler, Amirshokoohi, Kazempour, and Allspaw, 2006; Saunders and Rennie, 2013). Teachers' practices are essential in facilitating students' reform-oriented learning experiences (Bybee, 1993), and teachers' beliefs are related to their uptake of science education reforms (Fletcher and Luft, 2011). Yet, little is known about the ways beliefs influence teachers' uptake of SSI-based practices. Even less is known about how pre-service teachers' (PST) beliefs influence their adoption of SSI for teaching and learning. To address this gap in understanding I explored PSTs' beliefs about SSI, as they engaged in SSI-focused learning activities and curriculum design, in an SSI-focused methods course built around the SSI teaching and learning (SSI-TL) framework (Sadler et al., 2017). PSTs' beliefs about SSI were influenced by their existing beliefs about science teaching and learning, and PSTs were able to design curricular units consistent with the SSI-TL framework. In this multiple manuscript dissertation, I present details about the SSI-focused methods course, empirical findings, and implications for teacher education and research.
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