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Exploring experienced science teachers’ topic-specific pedagogical content knowledge in teaching ecosystems

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2019
Tıraş, İlknur
This research aimed to investigate experienced in-service middle school science teachers’ substantive content knowledge and topic-specific pedagogical content knowledge (TSPCK) on the concept of ecosystems. Data were gathered from two science teachers who were teaching concept of ecosystem in the seventh grade level in two different public schools in Ankara, Turkey. Semi-structured interview questions and classroom observations were used as a means to collect data. In data analysis inductive and deductive coding were used. Results which were found in the study presented that science teachers had deficit in substantive knowledge regarding ecosystems since they had partially addressed the basic ecology concepts, including energy flow in ecosystems, decomposers and community concepts. Results of the participants’ TSPCK revealed that their orientations towards science teaching were based on transmitting objectives prescribed in the science curriculum to the students even though they hardly remember all of the objectives. Additionally, participants could not link the vertical and horizontal relations successfully. Although science teachers addressed some possible learning difficulties of students, in classroom observations it was noted that they did not use any constructivist method to neither identify students’ alternative ideas nor eliminate them. Furthermore, although teachers mentioned some student-centered activities like field trip for teaching ecosystems in interviews, they only used teacher-centered instructional strategies such as questioning and direct instruction. Lastly participants had deficit in using alternative assessment techniques regarding knowledge of measurement and assessments.