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Preservice Teachers' Learning to Plan Intellectually Challenging Tasks

Abstract

This study explores how and under which conditions preservice secondary science teachers (PSTs) engage in effective planning practices that incorporate intellectually challenging tasks into lessons. Drawing upon a situative perspective on learning, eight PSTs’ trajectories of participation in communities of practice are examined with a focus on planning throughout student teaching. Data include 32 sets of teaching artifacts, interviews with PSTs, interviews with methods course instructors, and interviews with mentor teachers. The analyses show that instructional tasks observed at the beginning of lessons link to the ways in which PSTs engage in the three interrelated processes of (a) framing instructional goals, (b) constructing a lesson scenario, and (c) addressing problems of practice. The consistencies and changes observed in the PSTs’ trajectories of planning reveal the dynamic, responsive, and contentious nature of planning situated in local contexts. Three implications for designing productive learning opportunities for PSTs are discussed.

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