Critical Incidents in the Development of Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Teaching the Nature of Science: Insights from a Mentor‐Mentee Relationship
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While teacher educators have had some success in helping prospective teachers understand the nature of science (NOS), they have been less effective in helping prospective teachers teach NOS. Though several studies have alluded to impacts of various interventions on developing pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) for NOS, the nature, source, and development of PCK for NOS has not yet been investigated in any systematic way. This study attempts to address that gap by using a self study approach to identify critical incidents in the development of PCK for NOS of both a prospective teacher and science teacher educator. Analysis of data collected over a two‐year period during their mentormentee relationship illuminates pedagogical dilemmas faced by the prospective teacher in enacting NOS instruction within a school culture of primarily “traditional” science teaching. A series of narrative vignettes are used to illustrate the way in which teaching NOS might be construed as “acts of rebellion,” and the ways in which personal convictions and PCK interact. Interpretation of the vignettes from the perspective of the science teacher educator allows for reflection and self‐study in regard to preparing teachers to teach NOS. Implications for fostering the development of PCK for NOS within teacher education are discussed.