Exploring the Design of Scaffolding Pedagogical Instruction for Elementary Preservice Teacher Education

Jianlan Wang, Stacey Sneed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Inquiry, central in science education reforms for decades, is a critical element required in many teacher education programs. However, the instruction of inquiry-oriented pedagogies in those programs has limited impacts on science preservice teachers (PSTs) who arefvn the agent of transforming classroom instruction. The challenges include the limited time PSTs are exposed to the instruction of inquiry in teacher education programs, the gap between educational theories and field practicum of inquiry to which PSTs are exposed, and the less engaging approach to the instruction of educational theories. At the elementary level, there is an additional challenge of PSTs’ low motivation toward science and science teaching. In response to these challenges, we designed an innovative approach of scaffolding pedagogical instruction (SPI) and examined its effectiveness in promoting PSTs’ competence and disposition toward science and science teaching. In this article, we thoroughly describe the design of SPI and the instrument measuring the learning outcomes. We apply paired t tests to compare 85 elementary PSTs’ knowledge of inquiry teaching as well as their science identity and science teacher identity before and after receiving SPI. The findings suggest a significantly positive impact of SPI in preparing PSTs with the competence in and disposition toward inquiry teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-506
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Science Teacher Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2019


  • elementary science
  • inquiry teaching
  • preservice teacher education
  • scaffolding


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