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Experienced science teachers’ subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge regarding biogeochemical cycles in the context of education for sustainable development

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2019
Yılmaz Yendi, Bahar
This study investigated experienced science teachers’ subject matter (SMK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) regarding biogeochemical cycles in the context of education for sustainable development (ESD). Three science teachers (one male, two females) from different schools participated in the study. In this qualitative research, multiple case studies were used as research design. Data were obtained through interviews, content representations, observations, card sorting activity and teacher documents. Considering the results, it was observed that teachers had lack of knowledge in both their substantive and syntactic structures in the topic of biogeochemical cycles. The results also revealed that teachers conceptually associated sustainable development with the carbon cycle mostly but they could not reflect their SD understanding to their teaching of the cycles. When teachers' PCK were examined, it was found that teachers differed in the central and peripheral goals of science education. In addition, teachers were knowledgeable about both the objectives in the curriculum and the horizontal and vertical relations of the topic. Although teachers were aware of the students’ prerequisite knowledge in order to comprehend the topic, they did not consider students’ different learning styles during their teaching practice. Moreover, it was found that teachers had limited knowledge of both subject-specific and topic-specific instructional strategies. Teachers generally used teacher-centered strategies which caused them to be incompetent for implementing ESD. Similarly, teachers adopted traditional assessment methods. Eventually, it is recommended that teacher educators and program developers should enhance teacher education programs where teachers can gain experience especially in terms of instructional and assessment strategies specific to ESD and integrate their SD understanding with different topics.