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Examining science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge in the context of a professional development program

This dissertation reports on the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of science teachers during a professional development program. This research intended to help us understand why and how teachers make their classroom decisions as they teach science.

Dirk Wongsopawiro
24 January 2012
Fulltext in Leiden University Repository

The main questions in this study were: What is the pedagogical content knowledge of science teachers when they prepare and conduct lessons as part of a specific professional development program to improve their science teaching and how does this PCK change during this program? This study showed that teachers’ orientations, one of the PCK components, are complex because teachers have multiple goals and use multiple strategies when teaching a lesson. The study also showed that science teachers’ PCK can best be typified and described using teachers’ concerns, goals, and purposes in teaching science. When studying PCK development, this study showed that science teachers’ PCK development followed two different pathways of change. One pathway where teachers reflected on their classroom outcomes and the other pathway where they fail to reflect on these outcomes. When studying PCK in practice, there was evidence that when teachers use their PCK in inquiry lessons, their concerns and their orientations were closely related to their planning of inquiry-based instructions.

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