Examining Pre-Service Elementary Teacher Self-Efficacy for Engineering Education

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Lara Smetana
Cynthia Bushar Nelson


Engineering education is receiving increased attention, although teacher preparation for engineering particularly at elementary grades is not well understood. This study investigated the influences of an elementary science teaching methods course, focused specifically on elementary engineering, on teacher candidates’ self-efficacy for teaching engineering in elementary classrooms. The study builds on prior research with the Teaching Engineering Self-Efficacy Scale (Yoon et al., 2014) and offers insight about the tool’s use with teacher candidates. These findings are accompanied by qualitative analysis of participants’ responses to course assignments and semi-structured interviews to further explore connections between efficacy and undertsanding. Strong gains are reported in participant self-efficacy even as some misunderstandings remain about engineering and the relationship of engineering, science and technology. Overall, the study reveals the power of a focused methods course including field experiences in an elementary school with an expert teacher. Implications for teacher educators and researchers are discussed. 


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Research / Empirical