Isil Koc, Robert E. Yager


This study was mainly conducted to investigate the extent to which preservice teachers held alternative conceptions in fundamental elementary science concepts from earth/space, life and physical sciences along with their self-efficacy beliefs about science teaching. This study also examined the potential relationship between the numbers of alternative conceptions held by preservice teachers and their self-efficacy beliefs about science teaching. Eighty-six preservice elementary education majors enrolled in the four sections of the science methods courses offered in a large Midwestern university in US participated in this study. Data were collected through the use of Alternative Conceptions in Science Instrument, Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument- Form B (STEBI-B), and a participant information form. The results from the alternative conception instrument indicated that the majority of preservice elementary teachers (67.4%) held a number of alternative conceptions, mostly in the physical science followed by earth/space, and then life science. On the other hand, the analysis of the self-efficacy instrument revealed generally positive self-efficacy beliefs. Findings from the study also confirmed that science courses completed in high school and college do not seem to have influenced participants’ numbers of alternative conceptions regarding earth/space, life and physical sciences and self-efficacy beliefs about science teaching. Overall, the results of the study regarding self-efficacy beliefs suggest that more consideration should be given to identifying and modifying the alternative conceptions of science so that teachers can better help their students to arrive at more accurate conceptions.


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alternative conceptions; self-efficacy; preservice teachers; science teaching; teacher education


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