Navigating Emotions and Identity: Learning to Teach Science in a High Needs School
Rose, Karen J. (author)
Southerland, Sherry A. (professor directing dissertation)
Miller, Thomas E. (university representative)
Larson, Christine (Christine J.) (committee member)
Turner, Jeannine E. (Jeannine Ellen) (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Education (degree granting college)
School of Teacher Education (degree granting department)
As student populations in the United States become more diverse, teacher education programs are challenged to find innovative and effective ways to prepare teachers for the twenty-first century. However, the goal of "science for all" continues to elude many students in urban and high needs settings where science achievement gaps persist, teacher turnover is high, and novice teachers are often hired to fill those vacancies. Researchers have examined teachers' beliefs, attitudes, practices, as well as content and pedagogical knowledge and made progressive strides in illuminating the complexities of urban classrooms and how we can better prepare teachers for these settings. However, only recently have we begun to venture into the affective areas of teaching to investigate how these areas of human nature interact to influence instruction. This research follows three preservice teachers placed in a high needs school during their student teaching semester. In this case, a high need is described as a school with more than 30% of the students who meet the poverty criteria under section 1113(a)(f) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This case study explored the connections between preservice teachers' emotions, identity and the implementation of student-centered science instruction during the participants' student teaching experience. Data collection included observations, interviews, and physical artifacts. The interviews included the Teachers' Pedagogical Philosophy Interview (Richardson & Simmons, 1994) and the Meta-Emotions Interview (Gottman, Katz & Hooven, 1997) as well as general interview questions that illuminated the participants' views on teaching, their emotions, life history and identity. Multiple naturalistic observations were used to describe the interactions between the preservice teachers and the students during the implementation of student-centered lessons. Physical artifacts included weekly journals and lesson plans. These artifacts will provide additional information regarding the implementation of the lessons. The study found that all of the novice teachers experienced frustration, but used different strategies to minimize those frustrations in the classroom. The most interesting commonality in their response to frustration was the participants' use of emotion regulation strategies while implementing student-centered instruction (Gross, 1998; Sutton, 2004), particularly self-talk, avoidance and reappraisal. However, in terms of the success of student-centered instruction, the more promising regulatory strategy seemed to be the reappraisal of student behaviors. Additionally, the study found that student teachers who were more comfortable with ambiguity and their own instructional progress as improvement rather than "perfection" were able to maintain a more positive outlook on teaching as a future career. Although this study sought to look at the influence of race and class on the implementation of student-centered instruction, these factors did not appear to be the essential aspect of the struggles the novices had in enacting instruction, rather it was their ability to move beyond the differences between themselves and their student that emerged. The findings indicate that the difficulties novice teachers experience when enacting student-centered instruction can be productive if they can be taught to respond to these difficulties and the emotions that may accompany the difficulties, by employing emotion regulation strategies. These insights may inform the design of teacher preparation programs to include instructional events that support social and emotional competence for building teacher resilience in novices. This approach shows promise in more effectively preparing science teachers to be successful in enacting ambitious instruction in high needs settings.
emotions, equity, Identity, science, student-centered instruction, urban education
March 19, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the School of Teacher Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Sherry A. Southerland, Professor Directing Dissertation; Thomas Miller, University Representative; Christine Andrews-Larson, Committee Member; Jeanine Turner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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