What kind of future science teachers might they be? pre-service primary school teachers in abu dhabi, united arab emirates amidst educational reform

Significant educational reform has taken place in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates since 2007. Science had traditionally been taught using a fairly didactic and teacher-centered approach, with a heavy focus on textbook use. The New School Model rolled out by Abu Dhabi Educational Council requires a new breed of teacher and a modern approach towards teaching science, one where a far greater focus is on practical activities and student-centered learning. Science courses at this teacher training college have been tailored to address this and now have a high practical work proportion in both science content and educational courses. However, research suggests that pre-service teachers have their beliefs about science education embedded from their experiences prior to their education degree, including its importance as a subject. This research employed a survey questionnaire to explore the science education perceptions of 176 pre-service teachers. The findings suggest that they have the potential to become the kind of effective science teacher which the education reform in the UAE requires to successfully fulfill its ambitions for science education. It appears that the teacher training courses have been effective in over-turning some of the experiences and beliefs based on schooling, but it was also found that the PSTs have fairly low confidence levels in science inquiry skills. Teacher training courses have to focus more on teaching these skills, to improve confidence and therefore future use.

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