Science in kindergarten teacher education: Teachers' understanding and application

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

The present study aims to examine pre-primary teachers' knowledge in science and their application of science knowledge in school life. About fifty kindergarten teachers taking a science module in the Qualified Kindergarten Teachers course were invited to participate in this study. They were asked to identify their understanding of some science knowledge, and to describe their application of such knowledge in teaching and in their school life. As it is mentioned in the Pre-primary Curriculum Guide, many of the things that pre-primary children encounter in everyday life are closely related to science. To facilitate children's learning in natural science requires teachers' some science background. This is to stimulate children's innate curiosity about nature and to guide children to develop the basic enquiry skills. Kindergarten teachers enrolled in the one-year in-service course who were in non-science stream during their secondary education are encouraged to take science as one of their elective academic studies. An explicit goal of this module is to establish basic scientific literacy among kindergarten teachers, and to help them acquire the necessary knowledge and practical skills for the teaching of topics related to the pre-primary children's experience in Natural Science. A questionnaire was designed for teachers to rate their science knowledge and their application of science knowledge in school life. Science knowledge in the questionnaire refers to the topics covered in the science module and the Pre-primary Curriculum Guide. Teachers' responses in their understanding of science knowledge were contrasted with the opportunities they apply the science knowledge. Their responses in their application of science knowledge were also compared with the science module content in the teacher education program and the suggested curriculum in the Guide to the Pre-primary Curriculum. Such comparison helped to review and identify the match and mismatch between teachers' understanding of science knowledge, the science module content in the teacher education program and the utilization of science in pre-primary school life. The implications of the study are: firstly, the evaluation of the effectiveness of the science module in enriching pre-primary teachers knowledge and experience in science; secondly, the development of science module in an advanced teacher education course; and finally, drawing the attention of pre-primary educators to the interesting features related to science that are of value and importance to pre-primary teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Citation

So, W. M. W., Cheng, M. H. M., & Tang, K. Y. (1998, November). Science in kindergarten teacher education: Teachers' understanding and application. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 15th Annual Conference: Quality Education Across Disciplines, Systems and Regions, Hong Kong Baptist University, China.

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