Experiencing Tightly and Loosely Structured Research Groups: The Influence on Preservice Science Teachers’ Abilities to Engage in Science Practices
Dilek Ozalp 1 * , Allan Feldman 2
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1 Elementary Education Program, Department of Primary Education, Faculty of Education, Istanbul Aydin University, Istanbul, TURKEY2 Science Education Program, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA* Corresponding Author


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.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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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