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Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48

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Teaching and Teacher Education


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tate

The hierarchical (not fluid) nature of preservice secondary science


teachers' perceptions of their science teacher identity
Raquel Chung-Parsons a, Janelle M. Bailey b, *
a
University of Utah, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, 1721 Campus Center Drive Rm 2220, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA
b
Temple University, Department of Teaching & Learning, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave., Philadelphia, PA, 19122, USA

h i g h l i g h t s

 Preservice secondary science teachers (PSSTs) have hierarchical views of identity.


 Science identity is considered core, whereas science teacher identity is not.
 Teacher identity dominates over both science and science teacher identities.
 PSSTs' science identity unused to help students develop their own science identity.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This qualitative cross-case study explores three US preservice secondary science teachers' conceptions of
Received 24 January 2018 their science teacher identities and contexts within which they draw upon those science identities for
Received in revised form teaching. Grounded in a figured worlds framework, data analysis revealed that participants view their
29 October 2018
science teacher identity separate from their science identity, with only the latter being part of their
Accepted 7 November 2018
“core” identity. Participants view their teacher identity as dominant, and draw upon their science
Available online 16 November 2018
identity's cultural tools in only two teaching contextsdteaching science content and analyzing student
work to facilitate learning. Implications for teacher preparation programs are considered.
Keywords:
Science teacher identity
© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND
Science identity license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Science education
Preservice secondary science teacher

Students from traditionally marginalized groups are less likely teaching practices that facilitate scientific literacy development will
than male White students within the US to be engaged in science, increase students' engagement with science, deepen their con-
to experience success in science, and to pursue and persist in sci- ceptual understanding of the nature of science, encourage students
ence beyond what is required to meet high school graduation re- to pursue and persist in science careers, and allow students to
quirements (Aud et al., 2011; Grossman & Porche, 2013). Science for develop a science identity. Therefore, science teachers play a crucial
All Americans (Rutherford & Ahlgren, 1990) warned of the social, and central role in realizing science literacy for all Americans as a
economic, and global implications of poor student achievement in reform goal.
science and proposed a framework for addressing the problems The teaching profession is complex and influences the content
plaguing K-12 science education. Science literacy, which attends to and context of student learning, engagement, interest, and
the doing of science, developing a conceptual understanding of achievement. Teachers are the primary creators and recreators of
science, and using science (Hazen & Trefil, 1991) for both personal school culture and knowledge construction (Darling-Hammond,
(“micro”) and national (“macro”) socioeconomic needs and pur- 1988; Silva, Gimbert, & Nolan, 2000). Multiple interrelated vari-
poses (Fourez, 1989; Laugksch, 2000), became a primary goal of ables affect teacher quality (Wang, Lin, Spalding, Klecka, & Odell,
science education reform efforts. The assumption is that science 2011) and the ability to teach science effectively (Lofgran, Smith,
& Whiting, 2015; Osborne, Simon, & Collins, 2003). Reform ef-
forts to enhance teaching quality are generally geared toward
* Corresponding author. addressing issues of content knowledge, pedagogy, pedagogical
E-mail addresses: raquel.chungparsons@gmail.com (R. Chung-Parsons), janelle. content knowledge, student engagement, and teacher collaboration
bailey@temple.edu (J.M. Bailey).

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.11.007
0742-051X/© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
40 R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48

(Pea & Collins, 2008). consideration given teachers' central role in affecting student
Until recently, scant attention has been given to teachers learning, achievement, and identity development. Accordingly,
themselvesdwho they are and how they view their identities with science teachers' professional, subject matter, and science identi-
regard to their profession and educational reforms (Sen & Sari, ties and science teaching, learning and practices are discussed in
2017; Van Driel, Beijaard, & Verloop, 2001). Who teachers are re- the following sections.
lates to their teacher identity, which shapes their attitudes, beliefs,
and practices (Brickhouse, 1990). Thus, several studies argue for 1.1.1. Professional teacher identities
teacher identity to be included in science teaching reform efforts to A plethora of literature exists on teachers' professional identities
better prepare teachers to teach science literacy, as teachers' (e.g., Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004; Connelly & Clandinin, 1999;
negative perceptions and attitudes toward science literacy and low Schultz & Ravitch, 2012), which are described by Song and Shuhua
self-efficacy regarding teaching for science literacy may thwart (2007) as both a process (continuous, which with time and expe-
reform efforts (Luehmann, 2007; Saka, Southerland, Kittleson, & rience affirms role identity) and a state (the extent to which a
Hunter, 2013). An understanding of science teachers' identities as teacher identifies with the profession). Beijaard, Verloop, and
a means of improving science teaching is of interest because some Vermunt (2000) examined 80 experienced secondary teachers'
reform efforts have made little change in what students learn and perceptions across subject areas about their professional identities
with minimal gains in achievement (Gibbs & Fox, 1999), and stu- along three knowledge domains: subject matter, didactic, and
dent interest in pursuing science careers is decreasing (Smith & pedagogical. In their study, all teachers viewed subject matter
Darfler, 2012) despite the wealth of resources invested in school knowledge to be most important at the start of their practice and
reform efforts (Osborne & Dillon, 2008). Our identities define who later, most incorporated more didactical knowledge. However,
we are. Identities influence and are influenced by attitudes, beliefs, pedagogical knowledgedwhich bears significance for student
values, and behaviors. Although identity is an individual construct, identity developmentdconsistently ranked the lowest.
identity development is influenced by broader social interactions. It
is characterized by distinctive sets of behaviors and norms, which 1.1.2. Subject matter identities
are learned through social interactions and involve some degree of Contrarily, the literature barely addresses teachers' subject
mimicry (Burke & Stets, 2009). Identities reflect the individual to matter identities or these as related to their professional identities,
include a sense of belonging to one or more larger social groups, instead focusing on what teachers can do or how to improve their
such as the teaching profession. practice to develop students' academic identities (Ball, Thames, &
Phelps, 2008; Kaplan, Sinai, & Flum, 2014; Kleickmann et al.,
1. Review of literature 2013). Schachter and Rich (2011) argue that teachers should not
only identify with the profession of teaching but also with the
This research study is framed within the context of science lit- subject matter they are teaching, particularly given that the social
eracy for all Americans as a science education reform goal. Differing identities and roles of each subject has specific and unique cultural
perspectives make conceptualizing science literacy's role in edu- norms (Neumann, Parry, & Becher, 2002). For example, the cultural
cation challenging (Arons, 1983; Miller, 1983; Pella, O'Hearn, & norms, standards, expectations, and valued outcomes of science
Gale, 1966; Shen, 1975). Nonetheless, three common themes have and scientists are different from those of the teacher (Lemke, 1990;
evolved from the literature: (a) encompassment of scientific Varelas, House, & Wenzel, 2005). Therefore, science teachers
knowledge and conceptual understanding of the nature of science should identify with scientists and the scientific community, and
(Abell & Smith, 1992); (b) development of students' scientific skills have a science identity that manifests itself in their teaching
and habits of mind to navigate the technologically driven, global- identity, if they are to model and foster the same science identity in
ized adult society; and (c) contribution to the country's economic their students. Teachers, through their pedagogical practice, can
and social development and advancement (Rutherford & Ahlgren, consequently provide positive exposure to a science identity to
1990). However, as Hurd (2001) points out, science literacy for all facilitate students' own science identity development. This, how-
Americans is meaningless without reference to the student's in- ever, is easier said than done (Aydeniz & Hodge, 2011).
teractions with life and living. Throughout the history of science
education, the sciences have been disconnected from the student's 1.1.3. The science identity
life. Therefore, learning environments and instructional practices Carlone and Johnson's (2007) framework explicates three fac-
that best facilitate students' scientific literacy and identity devel- tors that contribute to a person's science identitydscience identity
opment must also be considered (Holbrook & Rannikmae, 2007). as performance, competence, and recognition. The nature of a
person's science identity is influenced by each component and their
1.1. At the intersection of identity and science education interrelationships. The authors posit that a science identity is
“situationally emergent and potentially enduring over time and
Identity Education (IdEd), a relatively new conceptual frame- context” (p. 1192). However, factors that support or hinder science
work explicitly linking identity and education (Schachter & Rich, identity development, the contributions/influence of sociocultural-
2011), evolved from the need to bring order, common language, historical contexts, and students' interpretation of their experi-
and purpose to the role of identity development in educational ences are not considered.
settings. IdEd is defined as “the deliberate active involvement of
educators with the psychological processes and practices that are 1.1.4. Science teaching and learning
involved in students' identity development” (Kaplan & Flum, 2012, The complex relationships between teaching-learning, teacher-
p. 223). It posits teachers' instructional practices will increase student, and identity development are reciprocal in nature
students' achievement and academic identity development, as (Bernstein-Yamashiro, 2004; Case, 2015; Ligorio, 2010; Loughran,
“academic learning can't be divorced from students' development 2013) and play out in classrooms or communities of practice
of values, goals, social roles, and worldviews” (Kaplan & Flum, 2012, (Wenger, 1998). The practices of the science classroom community
p. 171), all of which are related to identity development. Therefore, are influenced, shaped, and reshaped by the beliefs, attitudes, and
the role of science teachers' identities and teaching practices in personal experiences of each participant and their social position
facilitating students' science identity development warrants (Wenger, 1998). Although science teachers and students are
R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48 41

participatory actors, the teachers and the quality of teaching are and understanding about, their secondary science teacher identity
more dominant and influential on student learning and achieve- development and the perceived role of their science identity in
ment (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007; Rockoff, 2004). Conse- their practice.
quently, the instructional practices and decisions of teachers,
derived from their personal narratives, shape science lear-
2.1. Social practice and sociocultural-historical theory
ningdmaking teachers and their practice a source of bias for stu-
dents' engagement with science (Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992;
Identity development is situated within social contexts, and is
Richardson, 1996).
reciprocal in nature (Lave, 1996; Wenger, 1998). Burke and Stets
Research highlights sources of influence and contextual expe-
(2009) describe the reciprocal relationship as the “individual and
riences that contribute to teachers' narratives regarding science
society are two sides of the same coin” (p. 3); the “self reflects
and science teaching and learning, which in turn define, shape, and
society” (p. 37). The nature of the social context is equally impor-
reshape their science classroom practices (Alexakos, 2005; Fletcher,
tant in shaping and reshaping identities and the social context itself
2006). However, becoming a science teacher begins long before
(Goodson, 1991; Lave, 1996). Furthermore, behaviors and language
formal training. It primarily begins with experiences as science
development are consequential to identity development. Identity
learners and an “apprenticeship of observation” (Lortie, 1975, p.
behaviors and assigned meanings are the external manifestation of
61). Future teachers make sense of their experiences and construct
identities. Knowledge and understanding of identity behaviors are
ideas about science, science teachers (who science teachers are,
necessary for participation in social interactions and subsequently
what science teachers do), and science teaching practices, all of
for identity development (Bandura, 1986). “Identity does not sit
which change over time. Subsequently, science teachers' science
separately from knowledge and skills; acquiring new knowledge
historiesdtheir attitudes, beliefs, and understanding of science,
and skills plays a critical role in reshaping identity” (Franke &
science teachers, and teaching practices (Connelly & Clandinin,
Kazemi, 2001, as cited in Battey & Franke, 2008, p. 128). The
1999)dinform their science teacher identity development and
learning that occurs through participation in social interactions
practices (Alexakos, 2005). This in turn influences students'
“transforms who we are and what we can do, it is an experience of
learning and science identity development (Smith, 2005).
identity” (Wenger, 1998, p. 215). In other words, “who you are
becoming shapes crucially and fundamentally what you know”
1.1.5. Science teaching practices
(Lave, 1996, p. 157). Language is the medium through which culture
Fletcher (2006) best describes science literacy goals:
is mediated and is mutually constitutive; it “actively symbolizes the
Science teachers must learn how to address prior beliefs and social system” (Wells, 1999, p. 8). Language facilitates communi-
alternate conceptions, scaffold student understanding, and cation through which meanings and behaviors are derived (Wells,
extend student thinking to model the characteristics of scientific 1999). The nature of social interactions and the collective group
inquiry. (p. 6) changes over time, leaving behind a shared historical narrative of
the evolution of past to present social interactions, cultures, lan-
Effective science teaching is not simply teaching scientific knowl-
guages, and cultural tools. These factors account for variations in
edge; it is teaching about science in a manner such that students
identity development between individuals and social groups.
feel connected to what they are learning (Brown & Campione, 1990;
Holland et al.'s (1998) construct of figured worlds is demonstrative
Hagay & Baram-Tsabari, 2015). There is a shift from traditional
of identity development as social practice and sociocultural-
science teaching characterized by teacher-centered practices and
historical theory.
transmission mode of presenting science as facts (Aypay, Erdogan,
& So €zer, 2007; Deneroff, 2013) to student-centered classroom
community practices (Bybee, Powell, & Trowbridge, 2008; Kalem & 2.2. Figured worlds
Fer, 2003).
In sum, if we are to accomplish the goal of science education Figured worlds are culturally constructed “realms of interpre-
reform effortsdscience literacy for all Americansdthen we must tation in which particular sets of actors are recognized, significance
attend to the different identities influencing science teachers' is assigned to certain acts, and particular outcomes are valued over
instructional practices. Therefore, a more in-depth exploration of others” (Holland et al., 1998, p. 52). Figured worlds takes an inte-
the role of teachers' science identity as it relates to their profes- grative approach that allows for a more nuanced and textured ex-
sional teaching identity and practice is warranted. We must first amination of identity development. “Within these figured worlds,
take a step back and examine who science teachers are, what the identity is constructed as individuals both act with agency in
nature of their science identities and science teacher identities is, authoring themselves and are acted upon by social others as they
and how they view and position their identities in their science are positioned (as members, nonmembers, or certain kinds of
teaching practices. Preservice secondary science teachers (PSSTs) members)” (Nasir & Cooks, 2009, p. 41). The four tenets of figured
are an ideal starting point because they are neophyte in their sci- worlds are as follows.
ence teacher identity development. Furthermore, little is known
about how PSSTs perceive and understand the development of their 1 Figured worlds are social encounters where position mat-
science teacher identities or about how they draw upon their sci- tersdone's position in the social group is relative to the position
ence identities in their teaching practices, if at all. This exploratory of other group members. One's position is not fixed in figured
research study seeks to contribute to this conversation. worlds; an individual's social position is subject to change as
one participates in the sociocultural-historical practices of the
2. Theoretical framework figured world.
2 Figured worlds are historical phenomenadpeople construct
Understanding who we aredas individuals and as a collective their personal narratives (History-in-person) and social history
groupddraws from such disciplines as anthropology, psychology, (History-in-system) as they participate in social practice that
cultural studies, and sociology. Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, and changes over time and influences figured worlds (Holland &
Cain's (1998) figured worlds theoretical framework is the analyt- Lave, 2001). The historical changes in figured worlds are stee-
ical lens employed in this study to elucidate PSSTs perceptions of, ped in the collective past of the individuals and the social group.
42 R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48

3 Figured worlds distribute people as actors to different land- this study seeks to explore preservice secondary science teachers'
scapes of actiondhuman agency, availability of cultural re- conceptualization of their science teacher identities by addressing
sources, and diverse social interactions allow for creativity and the following questions:
improvisation of new or established courses of action and sub-
sequently varied identities. 1. What is the nature of PSSTs' science teacher identities?
4 Figured worlds are socially organized and reproduceddand 2. What role, if any, do PSSTs' science identities play in their sci-
therefore dependent upon individual interactions and inter- ence teaching practices and science teacher identity
subjectivity. This is similar to a collective identity, “an individual's development?
cognitive, moral, and emotional connection with a broader
community, category, practice, or institution. It is a perception of
a shared status or relation, which may be imagined rather than 3.2. Study design
experienced directly…” (Polletta & Jasper, 2001, p. 285).
This exploratory study employs a cross-case qualitative research
Additionally, pivotingdthe ability to move between figured worlds methodology that allows for in-depth, thick, rich descriptions
and draw upon identity resources from one sociocultural context to (Geertz, 1973) and analysis of a bounded system as a means of
help in another (Nasir & Cooks, 2009)dallows us to use our cultural investigating complex social units consisting of multiple variables
resources to both navigate and create figured worlds. of potential importance in understanding a phenomenon
(Merriam, 2009). “Case studies can take us to places where most of
2.3. Figured worlds and science education us would not have the opportunity to go” (Donmoyer, 1990, p. 193);
they provide insights into the minds of participants to better un-
Science classrooms are figured worlds. Science teachers and derstand their perceptions and the myriad sociocultural-historical
science learners occupy different social positions, which influences factors and contexts that shaped and reshaped their science and
their perceptions about science, scientists, science teachers, and science teacher identities using their voices (Guba & Lincoln, 2005),
science teaching and learning; both social positions and percep- as these factors are not always clear and explicit in their actions
tions change over time. The participation in figured worlds and the (Merriam, 2009). More specifically, we employed Bogdan and
courses of action taken up during that participation have implica- Biklen's (2007) life history, where “the researcher conducts
tions for science learning and science identity development. For extensive interviews with one person for the purpose of collecting a
example, girls and students of color may choose not to participate first person narrative” (p. 63). Each of the three participants,
in science classrooms because of their perceived lack of personal described below, and their perceptions of their science teacher
connection to science (Hagay & Baram-Tsabari, 2015); likewise, identities constitutes a case. Additionally, a cross-case analysis
students may improvise and figure out how to take up a science study design allows for the “capture of complex actions, percep-
identity with or without the support of science teachers (Carlone & tions, and interpretations” and the potential for unearthing “pre-
Johnson, 2007). Finally, the learning and teaching culture of science viously unknown relationships and variables leading to a
classrooms is determined primarily by the science teacher, with the rethinking of the phenomenon being studied” (Merriam, 2009, p.
students playing a secondary role (Hazari, Cass, & Beattie, 2015). 44).
Despite science education reform efforts and goals, it is the class-
room teacher's understanding of, and attitude toward, science and 3.3. Study site and participants
science reform policies and practices that are most important. The
application of the figured world framework to science classrooms Purposeful sampling was used to select PSSTs seeking teacher
and their goings-on allow for a deeper and more expansive un- certification through the adapted UTeach program (UTeach
derstanding of science, science learning, science teaching, and Institute, 2013) at an East Coast, urban four-year public institu-
science identity development from the perspective of the science tion in the US. The UTeach secondary teacher certification program
learner and science teacher, both of which influence, shape, and is intended to address the critical shortage of secondary mathe-
reshape science teacher identity development. matics, computer science, and science teachers in the United States.
The program design takes an integrative approach, synthesizing
3. Methods content knowledge acquisition with content-specific instructional
pedagogy and other teaching and professional considerations
3.1. Purpose and research questions (UTeach Institute, 2013). Selecting PSSTs enrolled in the program
reflected “the logic and power of purposeful sampling [that] lies in
Unlike that of teachers' professional identity development, scant selecting information-rich cases for study in depth…one can learn
research exists that describes how preservice science teachers a great deal about issues of central importance to the purpose of
understand their subject matter identities in relation to their pro- inquiry” (Patton, 2002, p. 230)din this case, science and science
fessional teacher identity development and their teaching practices teacher identity development. Selecting study participants with a
(Avraamidou, 2016; Enyedy, Goldberg, & Welsh, 2005; Helms, strong personal and professional affinity for science reduced the
1998; Pedretti, Bencze, Hewitt, Romkey, & Jivraj, 2008; Wilson, likelihood of participants not having considered their science
Bradbury, & McGlasson, 2015). Specifically, little is known about identities and science teacher identities. Therefore, an assumption
(a) how science teachers conceptualize their science teacher of this study was that participants had a science identity and a
identities; (b) the extent to which teachers' science identities in- strong understanding of and connection to science as evidenced by
fluence science teaching and learning; and (c) teachers' thoughts their desire to pursue an undergraduate degree in science.
about their role in fostering the science identity development of Participants were drawn from a student teaching seminar, a
their students. Hoban (2007) and Timostsuk and Ugaste (2010) weekly university course that supports reflective practice and
have argued for teacher preparation programs to attend to issues professional growth simultaneous to the semester-long, full-time
of identity development. Given that teachers' perceptions of their internship in a secondary science classroom (i.e., student teaching).
roles as science teachers (i.e., their professional teaching identities) Three of the eight PSSTs in the 2015 cohort student teaching
and their science identities likely affect their science instruction, seminar agreed to participate in the research study; each
R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48 43

participant is identified by a pseudonym. Valerie Manor, a Cauca- code frequency report was generated to decipher the frequency of
sian female in her early twenties, is “the first of [her] family to go to similar codes within and across participants as well as codes unique
college.” Prior to the college of science's orientation where faculty to participants and to establish commonalities that may be applied
described the program, Valerie never considered the teaching very loosely to PSSTs.
profession. Similarly, Zola Andrews realized she “wanted to be a Next, analytical coding, which “comes from interpretation and
teacher” during the program's Step 1 course (an introductory reflection on meaning” (Richards, 2005, p. 94), was applied to
course that encouraged students to explore teaching as a profes- establish possible connections and relationships between derived
sion). Zola self-identified as an Indian woman in her early twenties. categories through the analytical lens of figured worlds (Corbin &
Unlike Zola and Valerie, Lize Loupe, an older Caucasian female, Strauss, 2007). We then analyzed the codes to generate broader
attended college with the intent of becoming a high school physics themes and assigned each category a name based upon the study's
teacher. frameworkdfigured worldsdand research questions, which were
displayed in separate matrices for visual support of analysis (Miles,
3.4. Data collection and analysis Huberman, & Saldan ~ a, 2014). For example, Valerie's perceptions
about project-based learning was first coded as views on science
Data analysis was iterative with data collection (Gay, Mills, & teaching practices. Her views were then coded to reflect the his-
Airasian, 2011). Several sources of data were collected to provide torical phenomenon of the figured world framework. Similarly,
a holistic assessment of PSSTs' understanding of their own science Lize's simultaneous role as student, teacher, and colleague while
identities and the role those identities may play in their practice: a collaborating with her mentor teacher on lessons was coded as
preliminary survey, a 2-h semi-structured interview with each both the ‘social encounters and positions’ and ‘access to cultural
participant, observations of the weekly seminar and one classroom tools and courses of action’ tenets of the figured world framework.
teaching occurrence, a 2-h focus group interview, and several We exercised care to ensure the categories were exhaustive,
documentsdthree lesson plans, one unit plan, a child study, four- mutually exclusive, and sensitizing (Merriam, 2009). Emerging
teen weekly journal reflections, a teaching philosophy statement, themes formed the basis of the findings and centered on conceptual
and a reflective essay about student teaching. Interviews served as understanding of science, perceptions of scientists, personal rela-
the primary data source for the present study, with other data tionship with science, science teaching practices, and science
sources providing support for these interpretations as well as more teacher identity development.
salient sources for a larger study (Chung-Parsons, 2016). The semi-
structured interviews allowed flexibility to probe and explore 3.5. Validity, reliability, and the Researcher's role
participants' myriad science experiences and invited storytelling.
Their stories were a “meaning-making process” of their experi- The nature of the semi-structured interview questions consid-
ences (Seidman, 1998, p. 1), “the oldest and most natural form of ered “the degree to which the qualitative data [I] collected accu-
sense making” (p. 66). In retelling their science stories, PSSTs rately gauge what [I] am trying to measure, the degree of
participated in sense making and assigned new meanings to their trustworthiness of the data collection and analysis procedures”
prior experiences related to both their science and science teacher (Gay et al., 2011, p. 403) and ensured the participants' voices were
identitiesdhow and when they were formed, influential sociocul- not overshadowed by the researcher voice (Glaser & Strauss, 1967).
tural contexts, self-perceptions, and what type of science teacher The semi-structured interview elicited participants’ detailed de-
they want to become in the future and why (Connelly & Clandinin, scriptions of their science experiences across myriad sociocultural-
1999). Participants' teaching philosophy, weekly journal entries, historical contexts.
and child study documents also provided useful insights into their We also conducted two member checksdwith interview tran-
science teacher identity development and its role in their science scripts and an initial analysis summarydto ensure they accurately
teaching practices over time and multiple instances. The first represented PSSTs' thoughts and understanding of their science
author recorded researcher comments to “stimulate critical and science teacher identities. Participants' documents triangu-
thinking” about observations during the semi-structured in- lated, and in some cases provided more detailed information for,
terviews, focus group, and the weekly course seminar class the stories they shared in the semi-structured interview (Denzen,
(Merriam, 2009, p. 172). These memos provided “a time to reflect 1978). Relatedly, Maxwell (2005, as cited in Merriam, 2009)
on issues raised in the setting and how they relate to the larger stated that “validity is also relative: It has to be assessed in rela-
theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues” (Bogdan & tionship to the purposes and circumstances of the research, rather
Biklen, 2007, p. 165). Wolcott's (1994) three components of for than being a context-independent property of methods or con-
transforming qualitative dataddescription, analysis, and inter- clusions” (p. 105). This research study is only as valid as the reality
pretationdguided the data analysis. of the participants at the time of the interviews and when they
The semi-structured interviews were transcribed and imported wrote their documents, which are highly contextual.
into the HyperRESEARCH software for data analysis through coding, Lastly, as “the primary instrument for data collection and anal-
an analytical process of assigning words, themes, or categories to ysis” (Merriam, 2009, p. 15), the first author (hereafter “I”) was
pieces of texts (Silverman, 2006) that were relevant to the research actively engaged with and responsive to the data. I recognized my
study (Merriam, 2009). The coding process was recursive, dynamic, “subjectivities as it was important to identify them and monitor
inductive and deductive, and applied through the lens of science them as to how they may be shaping the collection and interpre-
and science teacher identity (Merriam, 2009). First, open and tation of data” (Merriam, 2009, p. 15). Like the research partici-
descriptive coding were used to ascertain the general gist of useful pants, at the time of the study I was a student (for me, at the
texts and to identify sociocultural-historical contexts relevant to doctoral level), seeking to learn and understand more about the
the research questions (Merriam, 2009). There were instances in nature of the profession I have chosen to pursue. I am also a former
which multiple descriptive codes were applied to the same text to secondary science teacher and consider my science identity a part
“maximize the range of hypotheses that can be generated” of my professional identity. That is, I consider myself a scientist, and
(Silverman, 2006, p. 88). Every attempt was made to use the same my scientist-self manifests itself in my everyday practice as an
descriptive codes for all participants while being mindful to record educator; I identify as a scientist. My identities are a source of bias,
any nuances between participants and code assignments. A case especially given I am a woman of color with personal experiences of
44 R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48

marginalization throughout my K-16 science learning experiences. I Lize: I feel that science is seen as a tool we use to make our lives
practiced reflexivity (Lincoln & Guba, 2000) with mindful attention better or to take care of the environment, or to fix things that
to and consideration of participants' stories and voices and kept my people have ruined. I guess I just see more variety in science,
reality separate from that of the participants. how it's used.
Participants took on science identities at different developmental
3.6. Limitations times and for different reasons. Zola realized in high school that
“[Science] did come naturally [and] that made me more interested
It is important to note that the specific contextual knowledge in it. Oh, I actually understand this. I get this, and this is supposed to
gleaned from this case study is not generalizable given the small be complicated, but I actually understand it, so this is cool.” Valerie
number of purposefully selected participants who are all women made herself develop an interest in chemistry for financial stability.
participating in the same non-traditional, specialized teacher She explained that, “Money, basically, unfortunately [prompted my
preparation program. Each participant's story is nuanced, informed interest in pharmacy]. Before that I was more artistic … then I
by differences in their lived experiences, motivations, pedagogical realized that's not going to give me what I need in terms of finance.”
awareness and practices, and student-teaching school placement Lize self-identified as having developed a science identity from a
experiences, despite commonalities. No one story captured can very young age. She was always “curious about things, wanting to
describe how to become a secondary science teacher. learn about things” she observed “in the world.” They all made
some kind of reference to ‘doing’ science, using scientific equip-
ment, and engaging in inquiry when asked to describe instances of
4. Findings: science identities as cultural tools for science
when they felt like scientists. Although Valerie and Zola consider
teacher identity development
themselves scientists because they enact behaviors that they
perceive to be associated with scientists, Lize does not. She believes
Elements of the participants' perceptions of their science
enacting scientist behaviors does not make you a scientist; you are
teacher identity development support findings from other studies
just mimicking the behaviors based upon the sociocultural context.
related to professional teacher identity development, specifically
According to Lize, scientists create new knowledge and push
their pedagogical concerns, nature of student teaching placements,
boundaries. Despite this different perspective, she acknowledges
dynamic construction and reconstruction of their teacher identity
having a science identity.
as they participated in varied figured worlds, personal goals and
Second, while participants' science identities are a part of their
motivations, and wellness and family concerns during student-
“core” identity, and they pivoted in and out of their science figured
teaching (Avraamidou, 2016; Flores & Day, 2006; Izadinia, 2015;
world, accessing its cultural tools to mediate actions in other
Pajares, 1992; Ronfelt, 2012; Sikes, 1985; Timostsuk & Ugaste, 2010;
figured worlds, its use in their science teaching practices was
Wenger, 1998). This study revealed three additional themes
contextual. In one context participants used their scientific cultural
regarding participants' understanding of their science identities
tools to mediate their assessment of student learning and to
and the relationship to their science teacher identity: (a) partici-
critique lesson plans and science teaching practices. They made
pants' science identities are a part of their “core” identity whereas
observations, collected data on student work, analyzed student
their science teacher identity is not, (b) participants' use of their
work, and brainstormed ways to address gaps in students' learning.
science identity in their teaching practices is contextual, and (c) the
For example, participants joked about their first class of the day
teacher identity is dominant over their science identity in the so-
being their “guinea pig” class where kinks were identified and
ciocultural context of science classrooms.
‘fixed’ for the next class. Their scientific cultural tools helped them
First, Valerie, Lize, and Zola understood their science identities
mediate the expected standards and behaviors of their social po-
as a part of their “core” identity (Roth & Tobin, 2007). They
sition of teacher. In this particular context, they were fulfilling roles
considered themselves “science people.” Their science identity was
expected of all teachers (e.g., assessing student learning and
always “on, somewhere in the back of my head.” Lize, Valerie, and
executing effective lessons), not specific to just science teachers.
Zola held common beliefs about the personal and larger social
The other context in which Valerie, Lize, and Zola used their science
utility of their science identitiesdscientific thinking and using
cultural tools to mediate their science teaching practice was
scientific skills, processes, and knowledge. For example, they drew
directly related to fulfilling their perceived role of science teachers.
upon these cultural tools in myriad sociocultural contexts to
This related to teaching about science topics, planning lessons,
mediate actions in their everyday activities like “reading, cooking,
figuring out how best to teach the science content, explaining,
taking a nature walk, watching TV, and problem solving.” They also
discussing, asking questions, or responding to students' questions
said,
related to the science content. Participants were more concerned
Valerie: There's a lot of very political scientific things going on, with their science content knowledge than using their scientific
you really need to know what your politicians are saying before skills. This explains why the teacher identity is perceived as
you vote for them. You need to be able to do the research to see dominant, the third theme.
what they're actually saying, what they're actually doing. A lot of Valerie, Zola, and Lize held varied and nuanced stereotypical
the skills that you have emphasized in science you really need to cultural motifs about science teachers with regards to ‘presence,’
be a better citizen or just a person in general. caring, and organization, which are associated with a teacher's
professional identity (Basow, 1987; Jansen & Bartell, 2013), whereas
Zola: So you have a problem and you're trying to either find a
being nerdy but not boring, using scientific language, and having a
solution to it or understand why that problem is happening. Or
perceived academic status are specifically associated with the sci-
you know something like an occurrence is happening and you
ence teacher identity (Alexakos, 2005). For Zola and Valerie, the
want to see if it's something that's always going to happen or if
majority of their science teaching practices were mediated by the
it's just a one-time thing. And just having like an issue or a
cultural tools of teaching, not science. Zola referred to her science-
problem and trying to figure out what exactly is going on, not
self when she was teaching science material, which she viewed
essentially finding the solution, but just trying to figure out
differently from her teacher-self and identity because it involved
what's happening and then maybe from there, you can find the
science. Valerie's teacher-self was always present and she only
solution.
R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48 45

drew upon her science-self to access science knowledge to talk me personally, there always just going to be two separate
about science or ask and answer science related questions, a entities.
contextual use of her science identity. Zola best illustrated this
Valerie: I think maybe the teacher is the outer layer, so you need
contextual use of the science identity:
to keep the class management skill, then your voice up, and this
My 6th period completely didn't know how to explain a molar presentation, but your knowledge is always there of what you're
ratio or how to write it out, so I was like, “All right, how am I talking and if they're not asking [science related] questions, you
going to go about this and make sure they get this?” It's more of have to engage them with [science related] questions.
just figuring out what went wrong and then seeing what I can
Everybody has a teacher stage personality that's not exact, like
do about it. Whereas when I'm analyzing a data from a test or if
you're not 100% who you are in the classroom. And then sci-
just when I'm looking at the students and who's confused or not,
entific me likes to sit with a book and be quiet, and not talk too
it'sdI feel like there's more attachment when it comes to
much, just learn stuff and teacher has to be out and proud and
looking at it, like looking at the data from my classroom
know this. I feel like the science identity, I don't see as much
compared to just data, that's just numbers from something. So
because it's what I like, it's whatdand then teaching is what I
that attachment makes me feel like a teacher, whereas with
do. So, I know I have to put on a personality when I go in the
random numbers, it's just data.
classroom because I'm not hugely talkative, I'm not hugely loud,
so I'm pushing more of that presentation person versus how I
One explanation for the contextual use of their science identities just generally am at home. I think the teaching identity
in participants' teaching practices is that prior to the semi- needsdthere's always more you could be doing and I feel like I
structured interview, neither Zola, Lize, nor Valerie actively use my science identity of what I could I do better, how do I
thought about their science identities nor its relationship to or role improve, how do I know that; using all the skills that I have, me
in their science teacher identity development. The following quotes over here [Laughter] to improve Ms. M over there. So, I think it's
illustrate their sense-making process of this new idea: combining the two, I don't know if that's a challenge.
Zola: No, not really, I don't feel like a scientist when I'm [stopped
talking, long pause]dactually, do I?d[pause] Hmmmm While Zola and Valerie both held a hierarchical perspective
[pause]dNo, I don't really feel like a scientist when I'm with the about their science teacher identity, their understanding of it
students or anything. differed. Zola viewed it from a role and behavior lens. She perceived
the roles and behaviors of scientists and teachers as separate,
[at a different time] Now I'm sitting here and like, all right, how
serving different functions, and being different figured worlds. As
do I make it one blog instead of two blogs.
such, and because teaching is mostly about the teacher-student
Valerie: Darn, this [is] thorough, isn't it? It's always hard, always interactions and learning, the teacher identity dominated. Science
easy and always hard just talking about yourself. I'm going to is the subject she taught and she therefore drew upon her science
think about this for a moment. [pause] So can you repeat it identity when teaching the science content. Valerie viewed it from
again, just so I have it right? a personalitydwho I amdlens. For Valerie, she needed to put on
her teacher “personality” in the classroom because that's what
Lize: I've never actually really thought about this too much, like
teachers do, they teach. This is separate from who she really is, her
where would, where is that line that you cross and then you're a
“core” identity that does not belong in the classroom “unless you're
scientist.
really open with your students.” Which identity dominates is time-
Valerie, Zola, and Lize perceived their science teacher identity to be and space-dependent. In the science classroom her teacher identity
a combination of their understanding of the science teacher iden- is dominant and her true self is hidden; at home her science
tity and their science identity. Zola and Valerie held a hierarchical identity is dominant.
perspective of the two identities, positioning their teacher identity Lize, on the other hand, did not hold a hierarchical view of her
first. It is the “outer layer,” the “dominant” identity that is always identities. Instead she believed her science identity and teacher
present. Zola and Valerie understood their social roles and re- identity “can be definitely mutually supportive of each other” and
sponsibilities as teachers to be dominant, always present when dynamic (Henry, 2016). She said,
teaching and interacting with students. They explained that:
To really be teaching itdis a totally different understanding of it
Zola: As a teacher, it's more of like how I interact with my stu- and how it can be useful and trying to think of ways that you can
dents. I want them to learn and [that] I'm there for their support see it in your life. It's just I feel teaching is a really good way to
so if you do need something, about something, I am here and I become that stronger thinker.
can help you. Then I see myself as a science teacher more of like
One reason Lize wanted to be a science teacher is to deepen her
in that classroom setting, so the teacher part is just all the time,
own science learning. Teaching science is a way to accomplish that;
the science teacher is like in the classroom when I'm teaching
she had no difficulties using the cultural tools of her science
you, the material that I need to teach you.
identity to mediate her science teaching practices. A noteworthy
I am leading a double life because there are certain things that I explanation for Lize's perspective is that Lize entered the figured
know that just scientists do, like certain groups and discussions world of science teaching with a better understanding of her
that you have just strictly as scientists because scientists are perceived goals and ideas about her science teacher identity. She
more like thatdfiguring out that data, you have that raw data, entered knowing she wanted to become a science teacher. Zola and
you're trying to understand what it means. Whereas with Valerie did not have this ‘jump start’; they were new to thinking
teachers, your focus is more on your students and making sure about themselves as science teachers and their practice as they
they're understanding what they need to understand so they participated in the figured world of the teacher preparation pro-
can further their education. So I think for me they're more gram. Also, teaching is a “backburner” plan for Valerie and Zola is
separate, they haven't really like fused together. And I think for still reconciling wanting to be a teacher instead of a doctor (which
has been her family's goal for her since the eighth grade). Therefore,
46 R. Chung-Parsons, J.M. Bailey / Teaching and Teacher Education 78 (2019) 39e48

the entry points, motivations, and goals of PSSTs matters. science learning, achievement, and possible science identity
Another explanation may be time. Developing an identity is a development. As such, this gap needs to be addressed.
dynamic, fluid process occurring over historical time and always The participants successfully completed their student teaching
subject to change with participation in sociocultural-historical with nuanced understandings of science and their science and
figured worlds. Also, two of the participants did not consider sci- science teacher identities despite completing the same teacher
ence teaching a career option while they were science learners and preparation program. The variations among Lize, Zola, and Valerie's
when they did, their entry point into the profession was neophytic perceptions of their science teacher identities supports Fletcher's
in nature with varied knowledge about and attitudes toward a (2006) findings that science teacher identity development is
career as a science teacher. This study was conducted during neither a linear nor a singular pathway. The reason for these vari-
participation in the figured world of their student teaching socio- ations is beyond the scope of this paper but in-school and out-of-
cultural context, argued to be the most significant historical time of school experiences, student teaching placements, motivation, and
teacher identity development (Williams, 2014). They were figuring entry points into teacher preparation programs influenced the
out what it meant to be a science teacher while they were being development of participants' varied science teacher identity
preservice science teachers. This figuring out is indicative of the development (Chung-Parsons, 2016; Chung-Parsons & Bailey,
dynamic, fluid, on-going process of identity development (Beijaard 2018). These aforementioned factors, in conjunction with how
et al., 2004; Holland et al., 1998). Additionally, the participants science teachers view their own science identities, need to be
indicated that the interview was the first encounter to reflect upon brought to the forefront of PSSTs' science teacher identity devel-
the role of their science identity in relationship to their science opment and teaching practices. Teacher preparation programs that
teacher identity development. While the Uteach program values prepare secondary science teachers should explicitly allow their
and recognizes the role of reflection in teacher identity develop- student teachers to reflect upon the development of their science
ment as evidenced in reflective practices incorporated throughout identitydspecifically, how to leverage its cultural toolsdto
all the courses, the PSSTs did not uses their reflective practice skills mediate their teaching practice, model science practices and be-
in relation to this study's research question (i.e., the relationship haviors, and more importantly, develop students' science identities.
between their science identity and their science teaching identity; This may facilitate students' exposure to and personal connection
Boud, Keogh, & Walker, 1985; Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993). Their to science via their science teachers. Moreover, all teacher prepa-
sensemaking of the issue during the interview suggests that they ration programs that prepare content-specific teachers, namely
will continue to do so moving forward in their profession. It is preservice secondary teachers, should do the same as called upon
important to note that whereas the PSSTs' process of figuring out by tenets of Identity Education (Schachter & Rich, 2011).
their science teacher identities was fluid and dynamic, they held
hierarchical views of their science teacher identitiesdthe teacher Acknowledgements
identity dominated over the science identity. Lastly, and perhaps
most importantly, Valerie, Lize, and Zola did not consider the This research did not receive any specific grant from funding
possibility of leveraging their science identities to mediate their agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. This
science teacher identities until the interview. This may be a factor of work was completed as part of the first author's Ed.D. capstone
participants' science learning experiences that did not make sci- project. The authors would like to thank Lize, Valerie, and Zola for
entific skills and processes explicit; they “figured it out” on their their participation in this study.
own over time and so could not draw upon those experiences as a
cultural tool in their science teaching practice. References

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