Elementary Science Teachers Noticing, Interpreting, and Responding: Students' Science Toolkits for Sensemaking
AuthorCooper-Wagoner, Judith Ann
Keywordselementary science preservice teachers
elementary science teacher preparation
funds of knowledge
student sensemaking in science
AdvisorGunckel, Kristin L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examined the ways in which elementary science teachers notice, interpret and respond to students’ sensemaking resources that students bring to school in the form of science toolkits. The science toolkits are comprised of three sensemaking resources: 1) ideas; 2) out-of-school experiences and funds of knowledge, and 3) youth genre. The high-leverage practices, noticing, interpreting, and responding, are effective teaching practices for advancing student learning. When employed proficiently, teachers’ noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ science toolkits leverages sensemaking in learning science. A constant comparative analysis was employed in this qualitative study to compare the similarities and differences of four teacher groups’ noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ science toolkits at different points along their pathway in a learning-to-teach science trajectory. The four teacher groups attended and graduated from the same teacher preparation program. The groups included aspiring teachers who had just begun a teacher preparation program, practicing teachers who had recently completed the science methods course, student teachers who in addition to completing the science methods course were placed in student teaching, and practicing teachers who were in their third to fifth year with planning and teaching science. The findings showed how the four teachers demonstrated growing sophistication in their strength-based noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ science toolkits. The aspiring teachers valued all students’ sensemaking resources and therefore found them all worth responding to. The preservice teachers recognized science concepts in individual students’ resources that the students used for making sense of science and leveraged students’ resources for further science understanding. The student teachers were aware of how individual resources contributed to collective group sensemaking of science and utilized collective understanding to facilitate the advancement of students’ deeper understanding of science. The practicing teachers recognized how individual students’ resources supported smaller aspects of science concepts that fit together into a bigger science idea and responded to the smaller aspects of science thinking in students’ resources to assist students in connecting the smaller concepts to the big science idea. Understanding the growing sophistication of these four teacher groups’ noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ science toolkits for sensemaking when learning science provides insights to the varied ways that the teacher groups demonstrated these practices as they grew in sophistication. This research also holds potential to inform teacher educators with approaches to leverage preservice teachers’ strength-based interpretations of students’ sensemaking resources toward more sophisticated noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ science toolkits for learning science.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching & Teacher Education
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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