Influence of Science Experiences on Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Beliefs

Main Article Content

Saiqa Azam
Deepika Menon


The purpose of this mixed-methods research was to investigate changes in preservice elementary teachers’ science teaching beliefs and explain how these beliefs influence the way these teachers interpret their science teaching and learning experiences. Supported by the theoretical underpinnings of teacher beliefs and drawings as a tool to investigate teacher beliefs, this research utilized qualitative (written science autobiographies and reflections) and quantitative (Draw-a-Science-Teacher-Test-Checklist as a pre and post measure) data collection techniques. A total of 55 preservice elementary teachers participated from two public universities located in the United States and Canada. Quantitative analysis revealed positive shifts in science teaching beliefs of preservice elementary teachers largely in two ways: A small shift representing small positive difference or a large shift representing large positive difference between the pre- to post-course DASTT-C scores. Qualitative data analysis for the two sub-groups of participants (small shift and large shift) provided evidence that preservice teachers’ beliefs were linked to their personal histories and were influenced by their prior science experiences. Preservice teachers’ beliefs and their self-images changed as they participated in the field teaching experiences in elementary classrooms and engaged with elementary learners, during the science methods course. Implications for preservice teacher education programs, science teacher education, and research are included.

Article Details

Research / Empirical
Author Biography

Deepika Menon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Assistant Professor of Science Education,

Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences