There have been recent calls for students to not only learn the content of science, but also its practices. If teachers are to teach their students how to engage in those practice, then they need to have at least had some experience engaging in them. The US NSF research experiences for the teachers (RET) programs provide opportunities for the teachers to engage in those practices. In those programs, the teachers work in research groups that vary in the ways in which they are structured. This suggests they might gain different experiences depending on their research groups even if the teachers participate in the same program. Because of this reason, in this study we aimed to find out how participating in differently structured research groups influence preservice teachers’ abilities to engage in science practices. By using a comparative case study approach, we compared two preservice science teachers’ experiences and abilities in an RET program that required teachers to engage in research projects. Analysis of data from preservice teacher and graduate student mentor surveys and interviews, and observation notes indicated that the preservice teacher who participated in a loosely structured research group did not have the opportunity to improve in most of the practices and left the program as a novice researcher. On the other hand, the preservice teacher who participated in a tightly structured research group improved in most of the practices and to being a proficient technician.
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Article Type: Research Article
INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED, 2022, Volume 18, Issue 4, Article No: e2301
Publication date: 29 Aug 2022
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