Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Patrick J. Enderle, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Renée S. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Natalie S. King, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

G. Sue Kasun, Ph.D.


Science teacher candidates (STC) enter an initial teacher preparation program with ideas of what it means to be an educator (Russel & Martin, 2014). Yet, they encounter ideologies about science education for all students that are often different from what they know (Arellano et al., 2016). This study explores how science teacher candidates respond to the ideologies of 3D teaching and learning and social justice. When presented together as one ideology, these ideas are intended to lead science teacher candidates to implement critical pedagogy. Teachers who use critical pedagogy seek to help students develop their identities, utilize community resources, and work to co-construct knowledge and action with students (Arellano et al., 2016). Teacher candidates encounter an ideology that asks them to question how their instruction and curriculum helps students understand themselves, others, power, equity, and anti-oppression (Muhammad, 2020). STCs’ ideologies around what should and should not be talked about in the science classroom may be challenged. The purpose of this descriptive case study is to explore the alignment and/or resistance to critical science education ideologies for STCs in an initial teacher preparation program.

Using a conceptual framework that combines the Teacher-Centered Systemic Reform (TCSR) model (Woodbury & Gess-Newsome, 2002) and critical theory learning tasks for adults (Brookfield, 2005), the experiences of five science teacher candidates were explored. This descriptive case study took place during the 2021-2022 methods sequence. Three findings emerged from the study: (1) The consistency with which science teacher candidates' prior learning experiences are addressed in the ITP program influences their willingness to align with or resist program ideologies, (2) When placement schools' ideologies do not align with the ITP program, science teacher candidates are consistently positioned to critique their understanding of critical science ideologies, and (3) Teacher candidates combine the ideologies of social justice and 3D science teaching and learning into one through their own reasoning and practice. Implications include a need for explicit critical instruction and reflection for STCs, mentor teacher professional development, and consideration for one ideology grounded in critical science rather than two separate, as mentioned above.


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