A Case of Teaching Energy through Context-based Learning: Developing Lower Secondary Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Science

By Tussatrin Wannagatesiri.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study explores influences of science teaching through the context-based learning (CBL) approach to deepen teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Fifteen lower secondary science teachers attended a four-day workshop. They were offered ideas of active learning and CBL in science classrooms that honor the rich connections between context, content and the means of teaching it (the pedagogy). The various connections between content and it’s context, e.g. heat conductivity and fire walking, light absorption/emission and fluorescent materials, mechanical energy and magnetic guns, energy transformation and diode solar cells, were discussed in relation how to bring them to science classrooms. The collection of data involved a concept questionnaire, interviews, an audio recording of the workshop and teacher lesson plans. Most teachers found contexts would be useful to probe students’ prior understanding, make their lessons more interesting and drive student learning. Given opportunities to thoughtfully engage in the design of CBL lessons, teachers showed substantial growth in their sensitivity to the complex interactions among content, pedagogy and context, thus developing their PCK. However, the growth of their PCK was mostly influenced by the teachers’ content knowledge, where a few teachers struggled to develop well-built connections between teachers’ selected contexts and specific science content.

Keywords: Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Context-based Learning, Lower Secondary Teachers, Science

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.79-97. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 700.980KB).

Dr. Tussatrin Wannagatesiri

Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Development Science, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

I’m interested in inquiry and contextual teaching and learning in physics, and in-service and pre-service science and mathematics teacher professional development, including development of teaching and learning processes, learning materials, hands-on activity, and formative assessment in mathematical and physics education. I can be reached at the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education and Developmental Sciences at Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.