Using Multiple Lenses to Examine the Development of Beginning Biology Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Teaching Natural Selection Simulations
Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) has become a useful construct to examine science teacher learning. Yet, researchers conceptualize PCK development in different ways. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to use three analytic lenses to understand the development of three beginning biology teachers’ PCK for teaching natural selection simulations. We observed three early-career biology teachers as they taught natural selection in their respective school contexts over two consecutive years. Data consisted of six interviews with each participant. Using the PCK model developed by Magnusson et al. (1999), we examined topic-specific PCK development utilizing three different lenses: (1) expansion of knowledge within an individual knowledge base, (2) integration of knowledge across knowledge bases, and (3) knowledge that explicitly addressed core concepts of natural selection. We found commonalities across the participants, yet each lens was also useful to understand the influence of different factors (e.g., orientation, subject matter preparation, and the idiosyncratic nature of teacher knowledge) on PCK development. This multi-angle approach provides implications for considering the quality of beginning science teachers’ knowledge and future research on PCK development. We conclude with an argument that explicitly communicating lenses used to understand PCK development will help the research community compare analytic approaches and better understand the nature of science teacher learning.
KeywordsPedagogical content knowledge Biology Beginning teacher development
The authors would like to thank Dr. Jamie Sickel for her incredibly helpful feedback on earlier drafts of this article, which greatly improved their clarity of thinking and communication of ideas.
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