An Examination of Preservice/Mentor Teacher Interactions On Beliefs, Professional Identity, and Science Teaching Practices
by Marian Janet Nourollahi
The purpose of this study of preservice and mentor science teachers’ interactions on their beliefs, professional identity, and teaching practices is to: 1) distinguish between what preservice and mentor teachers believe about science teaching based on research or prior experience, and their actual science teaching practices, and 2) determine how preservice and mentor teacher interactions help shape their beliefs and professional identity regarding science teaching and how this affects their teaching practices. The main research question is: How do the interactions between preservice science teachers and their mentor teachers affect their beliefs, professional identity, and science teaching practices? This question was explored through a situated learning lens utilizing a descriptive, single case study design. One-on-one interviews of the preservice and mentor teachers were conducted and analyzed for emerging themes on teacher beliefs and professional identity and specific categories of science teaching practices. Videotaped observations of preservice and mentor teachers while planning and discussing lessons were analyzed to determine meanings on science teaching practices that emerge through their interaction and subsequent discourse. Written artifacts, including lesson plans, mentor teacher feedback, and researcher field notes, were collected and analyzed to compare science teaching practices with the teachers’ espoused beliefs on science teaching and learning. The case study narrative that results from the written and verbal communication between the preservice and mentor teachers provides important insight into their relationship and the possible subsequent influences on science teaching practices. This may also have important implications for the future design of preservice teacher field experiences in science teacher education programs.