Science teacher educators' practices in real-context: a comparative case study between Canada and Lebanon

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University of New Brunswick


While researchers assert that teacher educators and teacher education programs have a key role in preparing effective teachers and improving teacher practices (Darling-Hammond, 2017; Goodwin et al., 2014), there is little evidence about the practices of science teacher educators (STEs) in specific subject matter (Berry & Van Driel, 2013; Dolin & Evans, 2011; Goodwin & Chen, 2016; Korthagen et al., 2005; Mitchell, 2014) and in different national and cultural contexts (Berry & Van Driel, 2013; Korthagen [et] al., 2005). My study addresses this gap by exploring the practices of STEs as exemplified in their approach to teaching a secondary science methods course. I used a qualitative multiple case study to document, through observation and in-depth interviewing, the major practices of four STEs: two in Canada and two in Lebanon. The data were transcribed and coded to develop themes and find common patterns in their teaching methods. Cross-case analysis within and across cases disclosed key findings beyond the skills, approaches, or strategies teachers needed to teach secondary science. Context, political power, educational culture, and policies influenced course content and STEs' practices. The learning environment - including the physical setting, learning spaces, and social environment - had an impact on STEs' teaching methods. Every STE was unique, as their personal beliefs and personality were mirrored in their teaching approaches and relationship with their students. Observing STEs' teaching in their teaching context, engaging with their students, analyzing their course syllabus, and comparing how the intended course outcomes or objectives were delivered in the real classroom context demonstrated that there was some variance in how those strategies were implemented by each STE. My findings not only provide empirical data that contributes to addressing the gap in the literature on the practices of STEs in secondary science methods course, but I also compared those practices between two countries, where culture plays an important role. These insights will allow other STEs to reflect on their beliefs and practices. This work will also stimulate dialogue between STEs within the same institution and encourage collaboration between teacher educators, researchers, and teachers.