A case study on German first year chemistry student teachers beliefs about chemistry teaching, and their comparison with student teachers from other science teaching domains

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Silvija Markic and Ingo Eilks


This paper gives insights into the beliefs of 85 German first year chemistry student teachers about chemistry teaching and learning at the beginning of their teacher education. The study is based on student teachers drawings of themselves in a typical classroom situation and four open questions. The approach evaluated: (I) Beliefs about Classroom Organisation, (II) Beliefs about Teaching Objectives, and (III) Epistemological Beliefs. The tool, evaluation pattern and the results of the 85 first year chemistry student teachers evaluated by Grounded Theory are discussed and compared with similar studies from secondary biology, secondary physics, and primary science education, respectively. The results show that the first year chemistry student teachers in this sample hold heterogeneous beliefs about science teaching and learning. A minority are oriented around modern theories of learning, especially in their epistemological beliefs; the majority tend towards more traditional beliefs of chemistry teaching, not in line with modern educational theory. The latter tendencies are not as strong as they are among their physics colleagues. Beliefs of their biology colleagues and even more so among first year primary science student teachers from our sample are much more student-centred, oriented towards scientific literacy and constructivistic learning. Implications for teacher education are discussed.