New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Reflection-Stimulating Tasks to Promote a Theory Related Planning of Teaching in Science Education

Stephanie Grünbauer, Institute of Science Education, Department of Biology Education, University of Bremen (Germany)

Dörte Ostersehlt, Institute of Science Education, Department of Biology Education, University of Bremen (Germany)


Teacher training students believe, that their quality of teaching and expertise increase quite natural when they obtain more practical experience during their studies (Weyland & Wittmann, 2010; Seel & Bosse, 2011). However, the effectiveness of learning through school practical experience has not yet been sufficiently documented (Hascher, 2006; Weyland 2014). School practice experiences can more imply socializing in teaching profession and not many opportunities are available for students to develop their professional competence (Korthagen, 2001). There is also the danger of adopting the mentor’s performance and subjective theories (Schüpbach, 2011; Hascher, 2004). Instead of the unreflected accumulation of experiences, the critical examination of theory and practice in an authentic work area should be in the foreground in order to develop the basic attitude of a “reflective practitioner” (Schön, 1983). For promoting reflection skills of student teachers in the field of biology education a reflection-stimulating pool of tasks has been developed and tested. Tasks are processed in an accompanying seminar in preparation for school practice phases. The tasks especially outline coping with different dimensions of heterogeneity in school, under consideration of consequences in planning biology lessons. The students choose a didactic focus in their subsequent practical training, for example, language-sensitive teaching or differentiation. In addition, they receive “prompts” to assist in their theory-based analysis and reflection of their own teaching. The prime objective of those tasks and prompts are to train reflection skills, focusing on subject-related didactical aspects, and an increase of student teachers’ awareness of creating an adequate learning environment with regard to the needs of the pupils. The results from a survey (n=55) show a high acceptance for dealing with the tasks and an increase in their biology didactical theoretical understanding. The content analysis (n=15) of the reflection reports, however, showed that didactic theories were only used occasionally to analyze their teaching. To conclude, there are indications for a positive relationship between the use of prompts and the quality of written reflections. It can be assumed, that the reflection-stimulating tasks, in combination with prompts, can promote the reflection skills of the student teachers leading to a critical self-examination.

Keywords: tasks, didactics, professional competences; 


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