Enhancing Science Teachers' Knowledge of Practice by Explicitly Developing Pedagogical Content

Monash University, Australia

Principal Supervisor: John Jeffrey Loughran

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Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is an academic construct which represents the particular and specialised knowledge that teachers possess and develop over time. PCK blends together a teacher's knowledge of content, knowledge of pedagogical approaches and knowledge of their particular students in ways which effectively enhances student learning. This knowledge is often complex and usually so deeply a part of a teacher's intrinsic practice that it is tacit and, more often than not, inaccessible. The research presented in this thesis aims to capture, portray and develop participating science teachers' PCK; and in so doing, examine whether this explicit awareness has any influence on their professional practice.

Over the course of two years, six practising teachers (three middle school science teachers, one senior science teacher and two generalist primary school teachers) participated in the research. The participating teachers were involved in a pre- and post-test study with an intervention into their existing practice being based on their learning about, and use of, two instruments: Content Representations (CoRes); and, Pedagogical and Professional-experience Repertoires (PaP-eRs).

The research revealed that CoRes and PaP-eRs significantly helped all six participating teachers to develop an awareness and understanding of PCK and that these instruments prompted meaningful reflection of their practice. The data demonstrated that CoRes and PaP-eRs provided a structure on which the participating teachers could frame new ways of thinking about teaching and learning; and thus enhance their understanding and valuing of their professional knowledge of practice.

Related main articles

Bertram, A., & Loughran, J. (2011). Science Teachers' Views on CoRes and PaP-eRs as a Framework for Articulating and Developing Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Research in Science Education. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-011-9227-4

Bertram, A. (In press). Researching CoRes and PaP-eRs. In J. Loughran, A. Berry & P. Mulhall (Eds.), Understanding and developing science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (2nd ed.). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Reference to full-thesis

Bertram, A. (2010). Enhancing science teachers_ knowledge of practice by explicitly developing pedagogical content knowledge. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

This thesis is also available as an eThesis published by the Monash University ARROW Repository at URL:http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/471685    


Adam Bertram

Monash University

Northways Road,

Churchill 3842,

Victoria, Australia

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