Date of this Version
Published in International Journal of Science and Math Education 16 (2018), pp. 835–855.
Self-efficacy beliefs play a major role in determining teachers’ science teaching practices and have been a topic of great interest in the area of preservice science teacher education. This qualitative study investigated factors that influenced preservice elementary teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs in a physical science content course. The primary data sources included Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument-B (STEBI-B) responses, two semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and artifacts. Analysis of STEBI-B data was used to select 18 participants with varying levels of self-efficacy beliefs: low, medium, and high. Four categories representing course-related factors contributing towards participants’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs were found: (1) enhanced science conceptual understandings, (2) active learning experiences, (3) teaching strategies, and (4) instructor as a role model. While some course elements such as hands-on learning experiences and inquiry-based teaching strategies seemed to impact all groups positively, the low-group participants were particularly benefited from the ways in which science concepts were presented and the pace at which learning progressed. One implication from this study is that science educators could include elements within science content courses to potentially support preservice teachers with varied initial levels of science teaching self-efficacy.