Investigating opportunities for integrating methodology when teaching a life science topic (meiosis) to fourth-year pre-service teachers: A case study

Keywords: Teacher education programmes; pre-service teachers; pedagogical content knowledge; topic specific pedagogical content knowledge; teaching strategies; subject matter representations; curricular saliency; visible classroom routines; pedagogical reasoning.


A qualified teacher is expected to have the ability to integrate their knowledge of the subject/s that they teach (disciplinary component) and knowledge of how to teach those subjects (professional component) for effective teaching to occur. This integration however can be challenging for pre-service teachers (PSTs) as the two components are taught separately at teacher education institutions. The aim of this study was to determine the possibilities of integrating the teaching of the two components when training future science teachers by investigating opportunities available for teaching pedagogy/methodology during the teaching of a content course. This research, conducted at a South African university, was a qualitative case study that was done through teaching, recording and analysing video-recordings of lectures; conducting video stimulated recall interviews with a teacher educator and focus group interviews with fifteen pre-service teachers. Data analysis was deductive and inductive, and the Topic Specific Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TSPCK) construct was used as a conceptual framework. The results showed that, while teaching content, the teacher educator was able to integrate some methodological aspects. Although not fully utilised, she also created many opportunities that could allow for teaching content as well as teaching about teaching. This helped PSTs to gain some PCK in a content course. The study concludes that teacher educators can integrate content and methodology when teaching content courses through modelling multiple teaching strategies which not only teaches the content to the PSTs but also shows them how to teach that content. The integration should however go beyond the visible routines of teaching to include explicit discussion of the pedagogical reasoning behind them.

Research Articles