‘All We Did was Things Like Forces and Motion …’: Multiple Discourses in the development of primary science teachers
Previous research has highlighted challenges associated with embracing an inquiry approach to science teaching for primary teachers, often associating these challenges with insecurity linked to the lack of content knowledge. We argue that in order to understand the extent to which primary student teachers are able to embrace science teaching informed by scientific literacy for all, it is important to take into account various, sometimes competing, science teacher and primary teacher Discourses. The aim of this paper is to explore how such Discourses are constituted in the context of learning to teach during a 1-year university-based Post Graduate Certificate of Education course. The empirical data consist of semi-structured interviews with 11 student teachers. The analysis identifies 5 teacher Discourses and we argue that these can help us to better understand some of the tensions involved in becoming a primary teacher with a responsibility for teaching science: for example, in terms of the interplay between the student teachers' own educational biographies and institutionally sanctioned Discourses. One conclusion is that student teachers' willingness and ability to embrace a Discourse of science education, informed by the aim of scientific literacy for all, may be every bit as constrained by their experience of learning science through ?traditional schooling? as it is by their confidence with respect to their own subject knowledge. The 5 Discourses, with their complex interrelations, raise questions about which identity positions are available to students in the intersections of the Discourses and which identity positions teacher educators may seek to make available for their students.