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Exploring Science Teaching Efficacy of Early Childhood Majors in a Mixed-Reality Virtual Classroom. Nazan Bautista Miami University Presented at the first TLE TeachLivE ™ Conference in Orlando, FL, May 2013.

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exploring science teaching efficacy of early childhood majors in a mixed reality virtual classroom

Exploring Science Teaching Efficacy of Early Childhood Majors in a Mixed-Reality Virtual Classroom

Nazan Bautista

Miami University

Presented at the first TLE TeachLivE ™ Conference in Orlando, FL, May 2013

self efficacy beliefs

Preservice and inservice teachers have low self-efficacy in teaching science (Bleicher & Lindgren, 2005; Schiver & Czerniak, 1999)

  • Causes: Teachers’ lack of understanding of science concepts (Bleicher & Lindgren, 2005; Schibeci & Hickey, 2000; Trundle, Atwood, & Christopher, 2002) and of exposure to good science teaching and learning (Jarrett, 1999).
  • Teachers with high self-efficacy tend to implement more innovative, reform-based, and student centered instructional strategies (Czerniak and Lumpe 1996, Woolfolk Hoy and Davis 2006), set higher goals and expectations for students (WoolfolkHoy and Davis 2006), are more persistent with struggling students, and are more committed to the profession (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, and Hoy 1998).
  • Teacher self-efficacy is a strong predictor of students’ academic achievement (Saklofske, Michayluk, and Randhawa, 1988) and students learn more from teachers with high self-efficacy (Ashton and Webb, 1986).
Self Efficacy Beliefs
theoretical framework

Theoretical Framework: Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory of behavior and motivation

Sources of Self-Efficacy:

1. Enactive Mastery Experiences

2. Vicarious Experiences

  • Affective actual modeling
  • Symbolic Modeling
  • Self-modeling
  • Cognitive self-modeling
  • Cognitive content mastery
  • Cognitive pedagogical mastery
  • Simulated modeling

3. Verbal Persuasion

4. Emotional Arousal

(Bandura, 1997; Palmer, 2006)

Theoretical Framework

EDT 317.E Teaching Science in Early Childhood (3credits)

Offering: Taught in both fall & spring

Number of students: 40 – 70 per semester

Course Design & Goal: Backward Design (Wiggins and McTighe, 1998) and to increase the self-efficacy beliefs (Bautista, 2011)

Field Experience:2 weeks

  • Problem:Lack of science teaching opportunities
  • Consequence: Lack of interest in science and teaching science, negative attitude toward science / science teaching / science methods course

Exploration 1: Spring 2012

Session 1: Teaching about basic needs of plants – traditional or review techniques.

Session 2:Teaching about basic needs of plants – inquiry-based, guiding the instruction with students’ responses.

A preparation guide (PCK) was provided by the instructor.

Session 3:Teaching about what produces sound – inquiry-based, by using manipulatives (rulers, rubber bands, tuning forks).

A preparation guide (PCK) was provided by the instructor.

Behavior Level:2 (0-5 , mild/moderate misbehavior -> distraction, fidgeting, inattention, mild resistance at low frequency)

research questions

Exploration 1: Spring 2012

  • How does practicing with TeachLivE™ Lab impact preservice early childhood teachers’ perceived self-efficacy beliefs in the context of science?
  • What type of sources of efficacy does the TeachLivE™ Lab experience provide?
Research Questions

Participants: 62 / 64 ECE majors, Spring 2012

Mixed Methods:


  • STEBI-B (Enochs & Riggs, 1990) – as pre- and post-tests


  • Journal entries (n=372, 62 students * 6 journals)


-after each TLE session (3),

-during 2-week field experience,


  • Videotaped sessions (n=186, 62 students * 3 sessions)
data analysis


  • Two-tailed t-test analyses were conducted to see if there was any difference in the PSTE and STOE scores.
  • Cronbach’sα coefficients were computed to determine the internal consistency of the STEBI-B. Reliability coefficients for the two scales were found to be .85 (good) and .65 (acceptable) for PSTE and STOE, respectively.


  • Inductive thematic analysis was conducted to analyze the journal entries (n= 372). The author generated codes in the light of the participants’ responses and organized themes that respond to the two aforementioned research questions of the study.
  • Themes and codes generated from the inductive analyses of the journal entries will be used to analyze the video-taped sessions.
Data Analysis
quantitative stebi b

Table 1. Means and standard deviations (SD) for two dimensions of science teaching efficacy beliefs and paired t-test results.

  • ** Significant at the 0.01 level
Quantitative: STEBI-B
know your stuff angela

Theme 1: Science teaching requires strong understanding of science concepts and one needs to be well-prepared to teach and clearly explain a concept to students before going into a classroom. (n= 45)

“After the first TLE, I realized that I didn’t know very much about science…It hit me that I am going to have to know a lot more about science than I currently know.” David

“…I also learned that it is very important to know the material before teaching it. Before each TLE experience, I had to sit down and review the material. I think I did much better on the TLE practices when I did extra research on the topic. I was more confident while teaching the material when I was fully prepared.” Betsy

“Know your stuff!” Angela
why investigate if we already know

Theme 2: Science should be taught in an engaging manner; through inquiry-based, discovery-based lessons, and hands-on instruction. (n=41)

“Throughout our coursework we are told over and over again that being an early childhood teacher isn’t about standing in front of the class and lecturing, but I guess I never really realized it until the TeachLive made me move to the students and interact with them constantly throughout the lesson. This was a big revelation for me because although I had known that, I guess I had never really put it to use during my field experiences.” Katie

Why investigate if we already know…?
why do we have to learn this

Theme 3: Science content should be taught in a way that is relevant to students’ daily lives. (n=27)

“This experience has helped me to think about and discover how elementary science concepts fit into the bigger picture of what students need to know for their future. In the first two practices, the students would explicitly ask “Why do we have to learn this?” and I struggled to articulate my reasons. By the third practice, I feel that I presented the information in a more effective way that made it clear to students what our purpose was and why it was important, so there were no questions. I learned through these experiences that by making connections between students’ lives and science content, students will become more engaged in their learning” Danielle

“Why do we have to learn this?”
confidence in science teaching

Theme 4: TLE helped me gain confidence in teaching science. (n=38)

“In terms of teaching science, I was able to grow and become more comfortable with my ability to teach science. Coming into this semester, I was very uncomfortable and nervous about teaching science.” Ashley

“…After completing this experience, I can honestly say I am 100% more confident in my abilities to teach science and manage a classroom effectively.” Beth

Confidence in science teaching
classroom management

Theme 5: TLE helped me become more confident in managing disruptive behaviors. (n=12)

“…One thing I took away from [TLE] was that classroom management is such an important aspect of teaching. If you are unable to manage your classroom, then it is impossible to get any information across to your students…” Laura

Classroom management

Using TLE for a simulation of classroom science teaching is promising.

  • TLE has the potential to make early childhood majors aware of who they are as a teacher; how much content they know, what their teaching styles are, how to meet with individual students’ needs, etc.
  • It is not as powerful as real teaching experiences. However, it can support and compliment the learning that take place during field experiences.
  • It can be used to help education majors practice certain teaching techniques, such as conducting pre-assessments, asking open-ended questions.
  • It provides a safe environment to fail and improve mistakes.
future directions

Fall 2012 & Spring 2013

  • Intervention to improve Early and Middle Childhood Education majors’ understanding and practices of inquiry-based science teaching.

In progress

  • Intervention to make science relevant
  • Observing the change in confidence through preservice teachers’ body language
Future Directions

Limited time per person to practice

  • Scheduling TLE practices
  • Age group the avatars represent
  • Practicing in front of peers
  • Technological issues (Skype, tracker)

Bautista, N. U. (2011). Investigating the use of vicarious and mastery

experiences in influencing early childhood education majors’ self-

efficacy beliefs. Journal of Science Teacher Education. 22, 333- 349.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York, NY:


Enochs, L. G., & Riggs, I. M. (1990). Further development of an elementary

science teaching efficacy belief instrument: A preservice elementary scale.

School Science and Mathematics, 90, 694–706.

Martin, N. K., Yin, Z., & Baldwin, B. (1998). Construct validation of the Attitudes &

Beliefs on Classroom Control inventory. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 33,


Palmer, D. H. (2006). Sources of self-efficacy in a science methods course for

primary teacher education students. Research in Science Education, 36,


Squire, K. (2006). From content to context: Videogames as designed experience.

Educational Researcher, 35, 19–29.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. ASCD.