Investigating Preschool and Primary School Teachers’ Self-Efficacy and Needs in Teaching Science: A Pilot Study
In recent years, the curricula reforms at the levels of preschool and primary school in Sweden have caused new demands on the teachers. In particular, numerous teachers lack the educational training in science subjects. Therefore, this study aims to investigate teachers’ self-efficacy and needs in relation to science teaching. A total of 71 teachers, divided into three groups of preschool, 1-3 grades and 4-6 grades, were invited to join this pilot study. From the EU FP7 project, PROFILES, a Likert scale questionnaire (with scores from 1 to 3 to represent strongly disagree, agree to strongly agree, and I don’t know was scored 0) was used and revised for the data collection in this pilot study. The results showed that the participating teachers had relatively high self-efficacy and no significant differences were found among the three groups of teachers. However, even though the teachers had high self-efficacy, the needs of further education were expressed by the teachers to a large extent. In particular, the group of preschool teachers addressed the need for more content knowledge (CK) in physics and chemistry (>41%). In terms of the groups of 1-3 and 4-6 grades teachers, the needs relating to scientific literacy were revealed, with a focus on engaging students in socio-scientific problems (52%, 56%) and assessment (44%, 61%). The implication of this study is discussed in the hope to contribute to teachers’ professional development for both pre- and in-service
teachers in science education.
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