Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Science Education

Major Professor

Barbara S. Spector, Ph.D.


Beliefs, Lfe story, Affective domain, Science education reform, Life experiences


This research explored the common experiences, values, and beliefs of three science teacher educators with elementary teaching experience and how these commonalities influenced their thinking about teaching preservice elementary teachers. This qualitative study used a life story approach and included an autobiographical component. Data were collected through interviews, observations, and archival records. The findings were shared in eight chronologically ordered vignettes that portrayed an individual representing a composite of the participants. The participants shared numerous life experiences including: growing up in small towns, having older parents, being part of a two sibling family, having strong female role models, learning science through everyday occurrences, and having successful experiences in school math and science. They also placed a high value on education, responsibility, spiritual development, and contributions of diverse groups. Two beliefs stood out in the data. First, each participant believed that she had been a "good" elementary teacher. Second, each participant believed in the importance of attending to the affective domain within teaching and learning environments.These findings represent an extension of the existing limited literature base regarding qualifications and characteristics of science teacher educators. The findings direct our attention to the need for changes in science teacher education programs with regard to recruitment and design in order to attract more applicants with elementary teaching experience and understandings of the elementary school culture.