Beliefs, Practical Knowledge, and Context: A Longitudinal Study of a Beginning Biology Teacher's 5E Unit
The purpose of this three‐year case study was to understand how a beginning biology teacher (Alice) designed and taught a 5E unit on natural selection, how the unit changed when she took a position in a different school district, and why the changes occurred. We examined Alice's developing beliefs about science teaching and learning, practical knowledge, and perceptions of school context in relation to the 5E unit. Data sources consisted of interviews, classroom observations, and lesson materials. We found that Alice placed more emphasis on the explore phase, less emphasis on the engage and explain phases, and removed the elaborate phase over time. Alice's beliefs about science teaching and learning acted as a filter for making sense of practical knowledge and perceptions of context. Although her beliefs were student centered, they aligned with discovery learning in which little intervention from the teacher is required. We discuss how her beliefs, practical knowledge, and perceptions of context explained the changes in her practice. This study sheds insight into the nature of beliefs and how they relate to the 5E lesson phases, as well as the different lenses for viewing the 5E instructional model. Implications for science teacher preparation and induction programs are discussed.
Sickel, A. J., & Friedrichsen, P. (2015). Beliefs, Practical Knowledge, and Context: A Longitudinal Study of a Beginning Biology Teacher's 5E Unit. School Science and Mathematics, 115, 75–87.