Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry S. Herron

Committee Chair School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Jennifer Walker

Committee Member 2 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Committee Member 3

Dr. Sheila Hendry

Committee Member 3 School

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 School

Education

Committee Member 5

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 5 School

Education

Abstract

This quantitative research study examined the relationship between science teachers’ science education experiences (high school, undergraduate science courses, teacher education program science methods courses, in-service teaching, and professional development) regarding exposure to student-centered labs and science teacher self-efficacy in teaching student-centered labs. This research study also examined the relationship between science teachers’ opportunity to practice teaching student-centered labs during their science teacher experiences (teacher education program science methods course, in-service teaching, and professional development) and science teaching self-efficacy in teaching student-centered labs as they relate to the social constructivist and experiential learning theories.

A modified version of the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (Riggs & Enochs, 1989) was completed by 104 Mississippi public school science teachers teaching grades 6-12 of which all were members of the Mississippi Science Teachers Association. The research hypothesis stated that if science teachers are provided with the opportunity to practice teaching student-centered labs outside of their classrooms, then science teachers will have higher self-efficacy when implementing student-centered labs within their classrooms. The hypothesis was answered by running a one-way ANOVA.

Results suggest that practicing teaching student-centered labs during their teacher education program and professional development did not have a significant effect on science teachers’ self-efficacy when implementing student-centered labs. However, practice teaching student-centered labs during in-service teaching did have a significant effect on science teachers’ self-efficacy when implementing student-centered labs. Future research studies examining the frequency and quality of practice that science teachers receive in teaching student-centered labs may be useful in developing science lab curriculum for teacher education programs and professional development opportunities.

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