Science as Experience, Exploration, and Experiments: Elementary Teachers’ Notions of ‘Doing Science’

Much of the literature on science teaching suggests that elementary teachers lack relevant prior experiences with science. This study begins to reframe the deficit approach to research in science teaching by privileging the experiences elementary teachers have had with science – both in and out of schools – throughout their lives. Our work uses identity as a lens to examine the complexities of elementary teachers’ narrative accounts of their experiences with science over the course of their lives. Our findings identify components of teachers’ science-related experiences in order to lay the groundwork for making connections between teachers’ personal experiences and professional practice. This work demonstrates that teachers’ storied lives are important for educational researchers and teacher educators, as they reveal elements of teaching knowledge that may be productive and resourceful for refining teachers’ science practice.

Murphy, A. N., Luna, M. J., & Bernstein, M. B. (2017). Science as experience, exploration, and experiments: Elementary teachers’ notions of “doing science”. International Journal of Science Education, 1-21.