Difficulties in developing a curriculum for pre-service science teachers

19 Nov 2019

Course outlines for science teachers, designed and developed at 6 universities, were critically analysed and compared with the guidelines for science education set out in the national policy framework known as the Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications (MRTEQ) to identify the characteristics of a competent science teacher. Researchers used qualitative means to elicit data from the curriculum documents and in-depth interviews with science teacher educators at the institutions that participated in the study. The analysis of data focused on identifying views and perspectives that informed selection and organisation of curriculum content and pedagogical approaches. The findings that emerged from the data analysis point to both convergence and divergence among science teacher educators in terms of (i) interpretations of the policy on the minimum requirements for teacher qualifications, (ii) conceptualising hybridisation of academic content knowledge from different disciplines in the fields of science, and (iii) conceptualisation of pedagogical content knowledge for integrated approaches to teaching and learning of knowledge. A lack of uniformity in the conceptualised academic content and the conceptual framework to develop pedagogical content knowledge for the interdisciplinary school subject, Natural Sciences, pointed to the challenges facing departments of sciences education to produce competent teachers.