Special Issue "Innovation in Kindergarten and Primary School Teacher Education in Physical Sciences"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Teacher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2022) | Viewed by 5529

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Federico Corni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, I-39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
Interests: primary physical science education; conceptual metaphors; narrative in science; embodied cognition; pre-service and in-service teacher education in physics; physics teacher training
Prof. Hans U. Fuchs
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Physics Didactics, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, I-39042 Bressanone (BZ), Italy
Interests: thermodynamics; energy engineering; cognitive sciences; primary physics education
Dr. Angelika Pahl
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Teacher Education Bern, Institute for Pre-Primary and Primary School, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Interests: primary science education; inquiry-based learning; suitable science experiments for children; emotions during hands-on science activities; trainee teacher’s interests and attitudes toward natural science education in kindergarten and primary school

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Children demonstrate great interest in natural phenomena, including those usually studied in physical science, and want to learn more about them. How can teachers support and accompany such learning? Which methods and approaches are suitable for building children’s understanding of physical phenomena? Innovative approaches that are used in the tertiary education of kindergarten and elementary school teachers for early physical science education will be illustrated in this Special Issue. 

Innovation in the education of student teachers of kindergarten and elementary school levels comes from a reflection on the nature of knowledge, of teaching and learning, and of the discipline itself. The discipline, in our case physics, will need to play the role of a primary science in the following dual sense. Primary means early in the sense of education addressed to children when they build their primary understanding of the world. It also refers to the understanding of concepts and practices of science that may rightly be called primary, i.e., those that form the roots of scientific thought and action. We want to emphasize approaches that help future teachers to become aware of not just the knowledge of a particular science but also of how a child experiences nature and how an understanding of such experience can be fostered and nourished.  

In this Special Issue, we wish to address innovative developments that are mindful of this dual sense of primary. This means, in particular, that issues and themes related to the science itself will always be embedded in the lifeworld of a young learner. This places a burden on us as educators of student teachers to be mindful of the connections of physical science with other natural sciences, health science, engineering, social science, and the humanities in order to make physics part of a truly ecological science. 

Below is a non-exhaustive list of issues for contributions: 

  • Physical science as ecological;
  • Place- or land-based approaches to science learning; 
  • Embodied and enactive cognition; 
  • Experience (of nature) and imagination; 
  • Narrative and the experience of nature; 
  • Laboratory work;
  • Games, play, and embodied simulations; 
  • Language and language development; 
  • Development of cognitive tools; 
  • Conceptual development; 
  • Teaching methods and strategies; 
  • (Narrative) assessment;
  • Apprenticeships for student teachers;
  • In-service primary teacher training.

Prof. Dr. Federico Corni
Prof. Hans U. Fuchs
Dr. Angelika Pahl
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • pre-service and in-service teacher education in physics
  • primary physical science
  • teaching methods and strategies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Training Prospective Primary and Kindergarten Teachers on Electric Circuits Using Conceptual Metaphors
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(7), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12070457 - 30 Jun 2022
Viewed by 335
Abstract
The awareness and use of conceptual metaphors available in ordinary language should be a relevant part of teaching strategies, yet it is still rather neglected in teacher education. With a specific activity, we integrated a class of prospective kindergarten and primary school teachers [...] Read more.
The awareness and use of conceptual metaphors available in ordinary language should be a relevant part of teaching strategies, yet it is still rather neglected in teacher education. With a specific activity, we integrated a class of prospective kindergarten and primary school teachers on electric circuits with a reflection on the cognitive and linguistic aspects of metaphor. To understand how effective this integration proved to be, both in terms of learning and in terms of developing teaching skills, we conducted a single case study with a mixed qualitative–quantitative methodology. Student teachers were invited to analyze and discuss expressions on electric circuits selected from those they themselves had formulated at an earlier time. Here, we present some relevant results from the analysis of the students’ elaborations, highlighting how they worked with metaphors. They demonstrated a better understanding of the subject matter and greater awareness of teaching as well, in particular for what concerns the use of language and identifying and overcoming implicit ideas. Full article
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Article
The Development of Prospective Primary School Science Teachers’ TPaCK Fostered by Innovative Science-Teacher Education
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(6), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12060381 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 627
Abstract
The EEdnaS study “Development and testing of digitally enriched science-related subject matter teaching in digital teaching-learning labs and university classrooms” aims to promote the professional competencies of prospective teachers that are needed for teaching science content in a world shaped by digitalization. To [...] Read more.
The EEdnaS study “Development and testing of digitally enriched science-related subject matter teaching in digital teaching-learning labs and university classrooms” aims to promote the professional competencies of prospective teachers that are needed for teaching science content in a world shaped by digitalization. To achieve this goal, university teaching units (seminars) that directly address cognitive components of a teacher’s professional competencies, which are important to teaching science content in primary school education, were developed. In addition, prospective teachers were asked to plan, implement, and evaluate primary school science education with a particular focus on digitization, as well as sharing the developed units as open-educational resources. This article reports on the impact of the first part of the seminar concept, in which the promotion of digitization-related, subject-specific teaching methodology, as well as content-related knowledge (TPaCK) was systematically promoted. In a standardized survey, it could be shown that the prospective teachers demonstrated positive developments, particularly in the components PCK, TCK, TPK, as well as TPaCK, regarding the self-efficacy in cognitive characteristics about one’s own ability within the reference frame of self. Furthermore, the development of knowledge, especially in the areas of TK, PCK, TCK, and TPK, could also be determined, but not in relation to TPaCK itself. Full article
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Article
Play-Based Physics Learning in Kindergarten
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050300 - 23 Apr 2022
Viewed by 925
Abstract
This article highlights the importance of play as a learning approach in early physics education. It demonstrates the concept of an innovative didactic method that combines children’s free play with physics learning in kindergarten. This play-based learning approach enables children to experience and [...] Read more.
This article highlights the importance of play as a learning approach in early physics education. It demonstrates the concept of an innovative didactic method that combines children’s free play with physics learning in kindergarten. This play-based learning approach enables children to experience and recognize physical laws in a self-directed, action-oriented, and playful manner. The article provides concrete insights into how kindergarten teachers can stimulate physics-related learning moments, starting from free-play situations. Moreover, it points out the teacher’s crucial role in creating suitable play environments, providing feedback in play, and facilitating sustained shared thinking after play. The article is based on the didactic development project “je-desto”, which aims to promote play-based science learning in kindergarten by familiarizing kindergarten teachers with this promising didactic approach. Accordingly, this article provides kindergarten teachers and experts in subject didactics an answer to what play-based physics learning can look in practice. Full article
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Article
Experimentation and Research in the Physics Course for the Preparation of Primary School Teachers in Naples
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(4), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12040241 - 28 Mar 2022
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Physics preparation for primary school teachers has received attention only in recent decades. Research on science education provides useful guidelines, often disregarded. Several interrelated research questions must be addressed by field research, namely, (a) which physics subjects to teach in primary school and [...] Read more.
Physics preparation for primary school teachers has received attention only in recent decades. Research on science education provides useful guidelines, often disregarded. Several interrelated research questions must be addressed by field research, namely, (a) which physics subjects to teach in primary school and its relationships with other sciences, technology, and mathematics; (b) how to prepare teachers to grasp the complexity of their tasks; and (c) how to bridge pre-service and in-service training. In this study, we describe innovative aspects of a course, based on the research and action research of our research group, that aims to overcome the limitations of a purely academic approach. Future teachers are dynamically involved in activities in informal and formal contexts and in the training of in-service teachers’ activities. The idea of cognitive resonance and a phenomenological approach to the modeling process are the basis of the activities that integrate key concepts of physics with transversal ones to develop skills in physics, mathematics, technology, and language. Field research carried out with qualitative methods shows that the course, despite being demanding, is well received by students. Dozens of students are then involved in the activities of the group when they start a teaching career at school. Full article
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Article
Educational Significance of Nanoscience–Nanotechnology: Primary School Teachers’ and Students’ Voices after a Training Program
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110724 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 783
Abstract
Most of the modern technological applications we use in our daily life originate from the progress of Nanoscience–Nanotechnology (NST). The projection, showing the great impact that these advances are going to have on society, exhorts science education researchers to incorporate the modern field [...] Read more.
Most of the modern technological applications we use in our daily life originate from the progress of Nanoscience–Nanotechnology (NST). The projection, showing the great impact that these advances are going to have on society, exhorts science education researchers to incorporate the modern field into educational contexts. Among the several issues that have to be dealt with, NST’s educational significance comes to the fore. This pilot study aims to examine whether both nano-trained primary school teachers and nano-trained students acknowledge the need for the inclusion of the NST content to school contexts. Fourteen primary school teachers and ten students, after their participation in an NST training course, were interviewed in order to provide their justifications. The results show that the vast majority of the participants acknowledge the educational significance of NST. The main arguments were associated with career possibilities, the relevance of the content to everyday life, and the need for nanoliteracy attainment. The results of this study can be used by NST education researchers in order to formulate a NST content structure for primary school nanoeducation. Full article
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Article
Stories and Theatre for Teaching Physics at Primary School
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 696; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110696 - 31 Oct 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
The paper contains progress reports supported by data about two short activities aimed at introducing physics themes in primary school. The first is a formal storytelling intervention named “Mommy Comet” carried out in first- and fifth-grade classes and concerning motion in the absence [...] Read more.
The paper contains progress reports supported by data about two short activities aimed at introducing physics themes in primary school. The first is a formal storytelling intervention named “Mommy Comet” carried out in first- and fifth-grade classes and concerning motion in the absence of forces in the Solar System broad context. The second is an informal work with third-, fourth- and fifth-degree students to investigate what physics is about. The results obtained by analyzing questionnaires and conducting interviews show how these narrative tools can offer wide potentialities and prove great effectiveness in introducing young students to physics. Full article
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Article
Prospective Teachers’ Representations on the Concept of Force
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11100614 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 587
Abstract
We present a study on teacher education and, in particular, on Physics. Our assumption is that General Didactics and Disciplinary Didactic constitute two fundamental components of teachers’ professional development and therefore both must be used to interpret didactic phenomena adequately. This research involves [...] Read more.
We present a study on teacher education and, in particular, on Physics. Our assumption is that General Didactics and Disciplinary Didactic constitute two fundamental components of teachers’ professional development and therefore both must be used to interpret didactic phenomena adequately. This research involves a sample of 274 prospective teachers, enrolled in the Primary Education Sciences degrees in three Italian Universities (Milano Bicocca, Udine, Urbino,). It concerns the study of the spontaneous representations produced by students to foster understanding of the force concept and on the reasons given to motivate their effectiveness on an educational level and disciplinary one. The research tools and methods were developed by crossing the literature of General Didactics and Physics Education, identifying analytical categories that emerge from two different and complementary perspectives. In the broad spectrum of students’ conceptions, given by this double perspective, some aspects stand out: most of the representations do not include the representation of the forces at play, but rather imply a precise didactic approach inherent to the concept of force. This is confirmed by the analysis of the didactic and disciplinary motivations, in which a frequent identification of the two types of motivations emerges. Full article
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