Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 19 (2021), pp. 1587–1607.



Copyright © 2021 Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Published by Springer. Used by permission.


The purpose of this mixed methods research was to investigate the development of 55 preservice elementary teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs through analysis of their reflective practices in a science method course. This year-long study was conducted at two public universities located in the USA and Canada. Within the theoretical frameworks of science teaching self-efficacy and reflective practice, we examined how and in what ways preservice teachers’ reflections on their past science experiences and current science teaching practices contributed to their self-efficacy beliefs. Data were collected from pre- and post-course administrations of the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument-B (STEBI-B), written science autobiographies, written reflection papers, classroom observations, and artifacts. A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the significance of the differences between the pre- and post-course survey scores. The results indicated statistically significant gains in participants’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs. The qualitative analysis revealed that preservice teachers’ initial self-efficacy beliefs evolved through years of formal and informal interactions with science. New levels of self-efficacy were reached, as evident from participants’ self-reflection on their field teaching. The findings indicate the importance of field experiences and reflective practices for preservice elementary teachers’ preparation and science teaching self-efficacy. The study offers implications for preservice teacher education programs, science teacher education, and research.