Hopes and Fears for Science Teaching: The Possible Selves of Preservice Teachers in a Science Education Program



Given the high attrition rate of beginning science teachers, it is imperative to better prepare science preservice teachers, so that they can be successful during the early years of their teaching. The purpose of this study was to explore science preservice teachers’ views of themselves as a future teacher, in particular their hopes and fears for science teaching and the experiences that help to shape their possible selves. Employed were qualitative methods, which included open-ended surveys and face-to-face interviews. Eleven preservice teachers who enrolled in a secondary science teacher preparation program participated. Findings showed six categories of future selves with the most frequent category being for effective/ineffective science teaching. When their hoped-for and feared selves were not balanced, participants articulated more fears. Regarding the primary influence in shaping their hopes and fears, diverse past experiences related to teaching and learning appeared to be more salient factors than science teacher education program. Given the enriched understanding of the science preservice teachers’ perceptions, we provided suggestions for science teacher educators.


Science teacher preparation Possible selves Preservice teachers Motivation for science teaching 


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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