Climate change, collaboration and pre-service teachers' emergent professional identity

Morag Joan Findlay, Nicholas Souter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

40 Downloads (Pure)


The study group included 74 graduate, pre-service science teachers who were following the Professional Graduate Diploma of Education Secondary (PGDES) in all science subjects, biology with science, chemistry with science and physics with science. The strong tradition of integrated science in Scotland is reflected (Inspectorate of Schools (Scotland) 1994) in the structure of PGDES programmes (The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department 1998). Scottish School science departments are organised in a variety of ways and a strong collaborative element is often present in providing a common programme of study in science during the early years of secondary schooling. Collaborative coursework on climate change was selected due to its contemporary interest; consultation on the detail of a 'Curriculum for Excellence' (The Curriculum Review Group 2004) and the absence of reported depth of experience in this content area in Scottish school science. Issues associated with climate change conform to all ten qualities of socio-scientific issues (Ratcliffe M. and Grace M. 2003. ) p. 2-3. The purpose was to simulate the collaborative working environment (Watters J.J. and Ginns I.S. 2000); to establish a 'community of practice' as suggested by the (Lave J. and Wenger E. 1991)model of situated learning; involved aspects of problem based learning (Savin-Baden M. and Howell C.M. 2004) as well as authentic assessment (Wiggins G.P. 1993); and to initiate the formation of identities as science teachers rather than 'subject specialists'. The task was based on a constructivist framework. We sought to explore aspects relating to attitudes and knowledge in the context of climate change, to collaboration and the use of ICT. Students were allocated to mixed subject groups and expected to produce reading materials for 12-14 year olds and an associated teachers' guide on a given aspect of climate change over a seven week period. The product and collaborative aspects of the task were assessed using a combination of tutor and peer assessment, including two group debriefing sessions. Students' knowledge and confidence about global warming and information relating to their experiences of collaboration were assessed using a simple pre- and post-task questionnaire developed for this task. We found that the students experienced a number of benefits and frustrations of group work task. Overall, they found the process beneficial and collectively produced a high quality resource which is available as a basis for their own teaching. The resource could be adapted for use by other teachers. The students have become more knowledgeable about aspects of climate change. They may also have considered the challenges in teaching complicated socio-scientific issues in relation to their own professional attitudes and values. A generally positive attitudinal movement took place during the period and some variation was observed between students from different subject areas.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2008
EventEuropean Conference on Educational Research - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 10 Sep 200812 Sep 2008


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Educational Research
CityGothenburg, Sweden


  • climate change
  • pre-service teachers
  • professional identity
  • science education


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate change, collaboration and pre-service teachers' emergent professional identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this