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Improving Quality of Science Teacher Training in European Cooperation

  Assessing Science for Understanding (CZ) Training Module Based on Socio-cognitive Constructivism (CY) European Dimension in Integrated Science Education (LT) Development Procedural Skills in Science Education (BG) Using Laboratory to Enhance Student Learning and Scientific Inquiry (TR)  
Unit 1 - A Conception of Integrated Science Education Unit 2 - Some Philosophic, Didactic and Social Aspects of Integrated Science Education Unit 3 - The Main Tendencies of Integrated Science Education Development Unit 4 & Unit 5 - Integrated Science Education in the Context of the Constructivism Theory
Unit 6 - The Models of Integrated Science Education Unit 7 - The Integrated Science Education Curricula and its Designing Principles in Comprehensive School Unit 8 - The Science Education Tools and Ways of Producing them in the Collaboration Process Unit 9 & Unit 10 - A Constructivist Approach to Integrated Science Education: Teaching Would-be Teachers to do Science
Unit 11 & Unit 12 - Contextual Teaching and Learning of Integrated Science in Lower and Upper Secondary Schools Unit 13 - The Evaluation Strategies of Integrated Science Teaching / Learning Unit 14 - The Collaboration Peculiarities of Science Teachers  

Unit 9 & Unit 10
A Constructivist Approach to Integrated Science Education: Teaching Would-be Teachers to do Science

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A Constructivist Approach to Integrated Science Education: Teaching Would-be Teachers to do Science

Designing a Integrated Science Methods Course for Initial Science Teachers


Learner-centered approaches to teaching and schooling require supportive policies for preparing effective educators. Moving from constructivist philosophy, psychology and epistemology to the characterization of constructivist teaching and learning environments presents a challenge. Constructivist philosophy does not dictate how one should teach; however, it does make it incumbent upon the teacher to deal with each learner as an individual, to value diversity of perspective, and to recognize that the learner's behavior is a direct reflection of his / her life experiences. Bandura (1977, 1986, 1995, 1997), Fullan (1993), and other self-efficacy researchers have concluded that the catalyst for educational reform is the individual teacher and that a teacher's behaviors, values, beliefs, and ambition to act may be enhanced or suppressed during student teaching.

Constructivist science teacher preparation programs are intentionally designed to be transformational, not just informational. Preservice teachers are constantly given opportunities to make new connections in a setting focusing on personal empowerment and critical reflection. The programs challenge preservice teachers to move toward self-directed life-long learning (Ronald J. Bonnstetter, 1998).

The main mission for students in preparing to become educators is to learn procedures for proper education, the basics of teaching science, and the skill of conducting the process whereby students obtain knowledge. Young educators must be well familiar with teaching procedures, methods and methodical steps so as to be able to utiline tiese successfully in his or her work in various classes and under various conditions. When studying at university, students must not only become familiar with the theoretical foundations of science methodology, but also with their practical applications (Keirans, 2002).

Natural science competence of basic school teachers is one of the constituent parts of general professional competence. It is obvious that the students, would-be teachers should receive considerably high education in the field of natural science education in the process of studies.

Educational literature distinguishes the coming crucial moments:

“Teachers, as professionals, should have historical and philosophical knowledge of their subject matter quite independently of whether this knowledge is directly used in classrooms: teachers ought to know more about their subject than they are required to teach” (Matthews, 2000, p.334).

Systemic, integral natural science training of teachers is extremely important to the process of natural science competence development. On the other hand, competence has to be examined in a general cohesive system:

Natural science background standards –natural science competence of the teacher – the mastership (pedagogic) of activity – the results of natural science education

The competence of natural sciences teachers should be perceived as a system every component of which is fundamental. Natural science literacy is a core that is basically acquired in comprehensive school (natural science education as a component of general education). An appropriate natural science qualification and the level of competence are obtained in higher school. A decisive moment is a permanent improvement of competence during practical activities of the teacher.

Figure 6. The competence of natural sciences’ teachers as a system

Considering the changes of paradigms (for example, learning is in the prior position to teaching), the following objectives of natural science education can be raised in higher school:
Objectives of methodical training (readiness)

Social training objectives are also important, and therefore cannot be forgotten. Thus, we have:
Shulman (1986) also suggests that teachers can learn the knowledge needed during practice through stories or cases. It is clear that teachers` training programs has to be in accordabce with the following fundamental principles (Kokkotas, 2003):
In general, excellent science teacher preparation and professional development programs have some common characteristics. In such programs, prospective and practicing science teachers (The Association for Science Teacher Education, 2008):
Tasks (assignments)

  1. Describe the teachers of sciences working under the instructions of constructivistic teaching/learning. Identify the specificities of the style of work and impact on the process of learning (training pre-service teachers of sciences)?
  2. How is teacher’s competence in sciences as one of the constituents of professional competence important for the process of science education?
  3. Point to the main principles of training teachers of sciences.
Case study

At least a few higher schools in state N training the teachers of sciences work towards similar goals:
Thus, the pre-service teachers of sciences are provided a solid theoretical basis.

Questions to Case Study


Learner-centered approaches to teaching and schooling require supportive policies for preparing effective educators. Moving from constructivist philosophy, psychology and epistemology to the characterization of constructivist teaching and learning environments presents a challenge. For pre-service science teachers is very important to understand how secondary school students interact in the classroom; to understand how secondary school students respond to different teaching techniques; to gain experience in classroom teaching under the guidance of experienced teachers; to practice teaching in their own discipline and other subject areas; to gain experience in planning thematic units and understanding how a teaching team functions. A teacher is the key of the teaching process. Along the organization of integrated teaching the teacher has a big influence on schoolchildren. The awareness and assessment of the format of this influence helps the teacher to reveal what should be changed and improved in the process of integrated teaching. Competent science teachers have a direct, positive effect on students’ learning. Science teachers must have a deep understanding of how people learn science as well as skills and dispositions grounded in that knowledge that enable them to promote meaningful learning at their levels of science teaching. It is clear, that new teachers at schools need special science-specific teaching support during their first years of teaching to enable them to apply their science and pedagogical knowledge and skills successfully. Such a system of support need to be developed. Also science teachers must be prepared to meet the needs of their students and communities, grow by participating with others in the science education community, and participate in the development of science education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why the integrated science teaching is so important?

It is obvious, that integrated science teaching is important, because:
Next Reading

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