K-12 science education in America has long been criticized for not preparing scientifically literate students who are prepared to engage in science-as-practice. Bearing this in mind, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recommend engaging students in eight science practices to build their knowledge of and proficiency in science. Engaging students in science-as-practice instruction depends on building preservice teachers’ understanding of, proficiency with, and value for the science practices. Through this mixed methods study, we investigated the effects of an elementary science teaching methods course on 109 preservice teachers’ epistemic understanding of the practices, their perceived importance of each practice, and the value that they ascribe to each practice. The results of our analysis indicate that: (1) the course initiated changes in preservice teachers’ epistemic understanding of the practices; (2) these preservice teachers viewed Asking questions as the most important science practice; and (3) they most frequently attached Attainment value to the science practices. Based on these findings, we recommend that courses for preservice teachers purposefully include significant opportunities for them to engage in the doing of science; place emphasis on crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas in science; and provide preservice teachers with viable strategies for engaging students in each of the science practices in actual classrooms.
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© 2023 by the authors.
- elementary preservice teachers
- NGSS science practices
- science teaching methods course
- task values