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Department of Teacher Education

Teacher Education

Understanding how secondary science teacher candidates learn to teach via knowledge, practice, and professional identity

Hosun Kang (

The purpose of this study is to understand the mechanism of secondary science teacher candidates’ learning, how and why secondary science teacher candidates develop practices of science teaching while participating in multiple communities of practices.  Specifically, this study aims to understand secondary science teacher candidates’ development of two reform-oriented science teaching practices–(a) planning and enacting classroom activities, and (b) assessing and responding to students–with the lens of professional identity. Fourteen secondary science teacher candidates at our program participate in this study over two academic years (2008-2009). Data consist of (a) candidates’ course assignments including plans, report of teaching, and self-made teaching video, and (b) interviews with candidates, mentor teachers, and course instructors. Data analysis has been undertaken based on the conceptual framework for beginning teacher learning that incorporates cognitive and a sociocultural perspective on learning (Kang & Anderson, under review) and the learning to notice framework (Sherin and van Es, 2005).  The findings illustrate candidates’ success and failure of learning these two reform oriented science teaching practices in relation to their positioning with respect to different communities of practices and prioritized values.  This study aims to provide meaningful implications for both practice and research of teacher education.