Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

An Investigation of Primary School Teachers' PCK towards Science Subjects Using an Inquiry-Based Approach *

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

An Investigation of Primary School Teachers' PCK towards Science Subjects Using an Inquiry-Based Approach *

Article excerpt


Teacher competency is an effective factor on student behaviour and learning, and also plays a role in pedagogical progress and student learning. What pedagogical knowledge is and how teachers perceive their own pedagogy must be considered a separate component of pedagogical content knowledge. According to the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) description by Shulman (1987), it is important to arrange the content knowledge owned by the teacher according to the interests and needs of students. This can be done by using alternative approaches to such as analogy, demonstration and simulation and the transfer of knowledge. In accordance with Hope and Townsend (1983), a matter that must be considered at this point is being knowledgeable about what students think about, because misconceptions on the part of the teacher can have a negative effective in the preknowledge and comprehension deficiencies of the students. The instructional strategies used by the teacher during courses serve as indicators of being a specialist in the identification and elimination of existing misconceptions (Magnusson, Krajcik, & Borko, 1999); therefore, PCK has multiple dimensions.

Shulman (1987) continued to expand on PCK definitions by adding different dimensions from the approach initiated by Magnusson and others (1999). While emphasizing subject matter knowledge (SMK), which is important in science learning and teaching, a complete consensus among the various models developed cannot be ensured (Abell, 2007; Smith, 1999; van Driel, Verloop & De Vos, 1998). Despite this, two primary components are agreed upon in PCK studies; these focus on the knowledge pertaining to students' understanding and the available research on SMK (van Driel et al., 1998).

Moving on from the basic elements, different models - in which different aspects related to PCK are highlighted - have been developed (Cochran, DeRuiter & King, 1993; Cochran, King & DeRuiter, 1991; Grossman, 1990; Marks, 1990; Tamir, 1998). These models suggest that components can be analysed independently or together. As a result, a complete definition of PCK cannot be formulated.

In order to classify as PCK, shown below all components must be independently evaluated using a holistic approach. PCK understand to be considered independently of each ingredient is essentially the same time evaluating a holistic approach. Park and Chen (2012) developed a pentagon model that highlights the importance of integrating components, thereby creating synthesis among all PCK components (Figure 1).

In the pentagon model, knowledge of students' understanding, orientation to teaching science, knowledge of instructional strategies for teaching science, knowledge of assessment of science learning and knowledge of assessment of science learning components are included and analysed as a whole in PCK studies. This inclusion of all components in an equally-weighted manner provides strong consistency (Park & Chen, 2012). To dominate the current curriculum of teachers and make the necessary adjustments and guidance in this respect is related to the curriculum knowledge component of PCK (Falk, 2011); this reveals the skills of the teacher as it concerns curriculum concepts (Park & Oliver, 2008b).

The component of science education assessment reflects the status of learners using an approach that includes appropriate measurement tools and activities and methods in line with the current curriculum (Park & Oliver, 2008b). For students to understand the basic components of PCK, teachers are required to have good SMK and knowledge about student behaviours related to this knowledge (Driel, Jong, & Verloop, 2002). When considered in terms of these components, good teaching strategies dismiss misconceptions about conceptions.

Science teaching strategies includes learning cycles, conceptual change strategies and the inquiry-based approach as a whole (Park & Oliver, 2008b). …

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