Elementary Teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Teaching the Nature of Science: An examination of Teachers Who are Effective in Improving their Students' Views
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This study explored components of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of three teachers who were found successful at improving elementary students' views of NOS. Assuming PCK for NOS to be similar to PCK for other science topics, we drew from the model of PCK developed by Magnusson, Krajcik, and Borko (1999). Our efforts reflect a critical re-examination of data from a previous study, or what Heaton (1998) refers to as secondary analysis, and relied on the following data sources (1) field notes and transcripts from professional development sessions, (2) videos, lesson plans, and field notes from observations of teachers' classroom teaching of NOS (3) video stimulated-recall interviews conducted with teachers following classroom observations (4) videos and transcripts from teachers' presentations of their teaching experiences and professional conferences, (5) teachers' written contributions to professional publications, and (6) a focus-group session held with teachers at the conclusion of the project. We found teachers held strong intentions to teach NOS, used strategies modeled for them in workshops with their students, adapted their curricula to emphasize NOS, supported student discourse about NOS using “kidfriendly” language, and used a variety of instructional strategies. Though the teachers informally assessed NOS views, they were less effective in formally assessing students' understandings.