Pre-service science teachers’ use of visual representations when communicating science information

Christine Tippett, William McClune

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Representational competence, the interpretation, construction, transformation, and evaluation of visual representations, is an essential skill if students are to develop and communicate their understanding of science topics. There is a gap between research on representational issues and teachers’ representational practices in classrooms, which poses a question for science teacher educators: Can it be assumed that, during their own science education, science teachers have developed a level of RC that would equip them to support student learning with and through visual representations (VRs) of science? Our exploratory study focused on two common teacher education contexts: knowledge-building activities or practical work during methods courses; and classroom-based experiences during practice teaching placements. Research questions for the exploratory study focus on representational competence: How do preservice science teachers use VRs to communicate their understanding of a scientific activity? What kinds of VRs do preservice science teachers use in their teaching? Artefacts created by individuals and small groups to communicate processes and information were highly text-based, sometimes not including any VRs. When VRs were included, they were not well embedded, and they were often highly symbolic, with few labels that might support interpretation by someone with lower levels of prior knowledge. In the classroom, preservice teachers most commonly used prepared VRs. There was little evidence of students constructing their own representations as part of classroom interactions. Even a science degree might not adequately prepare preservice science teachers to effectively communicate science ideas using VRs, therefore, we recommend that science teacher educators emphasize representational approaches in their methods courses, regardless of the science background of their preservice teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019
EventThe beauty and pleasure of understanding: engaging with contemporary challenges through science education.” - Bologna, Italy
Duration: 26 Aug 201930 Aug 2019

Conference

ConferenceThe beauty and pleasure of understanding: engaging with contemporary challenges through science education.”
Abbreviated titleESERA 2019
CountryItaly
CityBologna
Period26/08/201930/08/2019

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