The Influences of Socioscientific Issues on General Science Teaching Self-Efficacy
Two common reasons elementary preservice teachers have low self-efficacy with science teaching is their lack of content knowledge and past negative experiences with science teaching or learning. Holding low self-efficacy beliefs has negative impacts on both the method of science instruction and amount of science instruction delivered in the elementary classroom. Many researchers have successfully explored methods for improving elementary preservice teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy by providing positive, inquiry-based learning experiences during a science methods course, but the present study explores how to improve elementary preservice teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy beliefs by engaging them in socioscientific issues (SSI) during their elementary methods course. Using a mixed methods approach, we collected quantitative with the science teaching efficacy beliefs instrument part B (STEBI-B) and qualitative data through short answer responses focused on understanding their perceptions and confidence with science instruction. Our analysis of the qualitative data focused on identifying the influences for any change that resulted from the STEBI results. Our findings illustrate SSI as a commonly identified reason for positive changes in general science teaching self-efficacy. Implications for utilizing SSI as an approach to combat low science teaching self-efficacy are discussed.