What did they take away?: Examining newly qualified U.S. teachers’ visions of learning and teaching science in K-8 classrooms


  • Deborah Roberts-Harris University of New Mexico




pre-service, elementary science, methods, strands of science proficiency, practitioner research


This study investigated newly qualified K-8 teachers’ visions of science learning and teaching after they had completed preparation in a science teaching methods course I taught. What visions of science learning and teaching were these newly qualified teachers taking away from my course? How did these visions compare with those advocated by reform documents? I examined their class work and interviewed them after the course to document their ideas about science learning and teaching as they were about to begin their first year of teaching. Other data sources included participants’ assignments, weekly reflections, and multi-media portfolio finals. Semi-structured interviews provided the emic voice of participants, after graduation but before they began to teach. Four strands of science proficiency articulated in a U.S. reform document provided a framework for interpreting activities, assignments, and interview responses. Some participants intentionally incorporated and implemented reform-based strategies in field placements in K-8 classrooms during the methods course and student teaching. The strands of scientific proficiency were evident in activities, assignments and participants’ interviews in varying degrees.


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Author Biography

Deborah Roberts-Harris, University of New Mexico

Deborah Roberts-Harris is an assistant professor in the department of teacher education at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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How to Cite

Roberts-Harris, Deborah. 2014. “What Did They Take away?: Examining Newly Qualified U.S. Teachers’ Visions of Learning and Teaching Science in K-8 Classrooms”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 2 (2):91-107. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.2.2.91.