Pre-service Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge in the Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Topics

  • Oktay Bektas


This study investigated pre-service science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in the physics, chemistry,
and biology topics. These topics were the light and sound, the physical and chemical changes, and reproduction,
growth, and evolution. Qualitative research design was utilized. Data were collected from 33 pre-service science
teachers (PSTs) by using open-ended questions. Data analysis was performed using descriptive analysis. The
results indicated that some PCTs have sufficient information in terms of knowledge of learners in the abovementioned
topics. Ten PSTs mentioned that students have some misconceptions (e.g. light is a matter) in the
light and sound. In the same way 17 PSTs stated that secondary school students have misconceptions (e.g.
melting of was is a chemical change) in the chemistry topic. Also, seven participant wrote that students have
misconceptions regarding biology topic (e.g. growth and evolution is the same). Moreover, some PSTs did not
have sufficient information regarding instructional strategies and knowledge of assessment in these topics. Many
of them stated that they use traditional instruction to overcome misconceptions on these topics. Likewise, many
of them mentioned that they use open ended questions to determine these misconceptions. Implications for
science teacher education are also presented.


Abell S. K., (2008). Twenty years later: does pedagogical content knowledge remain a useful idea? Int. J. Sci. Educ., 30(10), 1405–1416.
Bektas, O., Ekiz, B., Tuysuz, M., Kutucu, E.S., Tarkin, A., & Uzuntiryaki-Kondakci, E. (2013). Pre-service chemistry teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge of the nature of science in the particle nature of matter, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 14, 201-213.
Berg, T. & Brouwer, W. (1991). Teacher awareness of student alternate conceptions about rotational motion and gravity. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 3–18.
Bogdan R. C. & Biklen S. K., (2007), Qualitative research for education: an introduction to theory and methods. 5th edition, USA: Allyn and Bacon.
Boz N. & Boz Y., (2008). A qualitative case study of prospective chemistry teachers’ knowledge about instructional strategies: introducing particulate theory. J. Sci. Teach. Educ., 19(2), 135–156.
Clermont, C.P., Borko, H. & Krajcik, J.S. (1994) Comparative study of pedagogical content knowledge of experienced and novice chemical demonstrators. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(4), 419–441.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design, qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (Third Edition). California: SAGE Publications.
Halim, L., & Meerah, S.M. (2002). Science trainee teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and its influence on physics teaching. Research in Science & Technological Education, 20(2), 215-225.
Hashweh, M. Z. (1987). Effects of subject matter knowledge in the teaching of biology and physics. Teaching and Teacher Education, 3, 109–120.
Hashweh, M. (2005). Teacher pedagogical constructions: a reconfiguration of pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 11(3), 273–292.
Jüttner, M., Boone, W., Park, S., & Neuhaus, B.J. (2013). Development and use of a test instrument to measure biology teachers’ content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Educational Assessment Evaluation and Accountability, 25(1), 45-67.
Kind V., (2009). Pedagogical content knowledge in science education: perspectives and potential for progress. Stud. Sci. Educ., 45(2), 169–204.
Magnusson S., Krajcik J. & Borko H., (1999). Nature, sources and development of pedagogical content knowledge, in Gess-Newsome J. and Lederman N. G. (ed.), Examining pedagogical content knowledge, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer, pp. 95–132.
Marshall C. & Rossman G. B., (2006). Designing qualitative research. 4th edition, California: Sage Publications.
Park, S., Jang, J.-Y., Chen, Y.-C., & Jung, J. (2010). Is pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) necessary for reformed science teaching? Evidence from an empirical study. Research in Science Education, 41(2), 245–260. doi:10.1007/s11165-009-9163-8.
Patton M. Q., (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 3rd ed., California: Sage Publications.
Sahin C. T. & Koksal M. S., (2010). How are the perceptions of high school students and teachers on NOS as a knowledge type presented in schools in terms of ‘‘importance’’ and ‘‘interest’’? Int. J. Environ. Sci. Educ., 5(1), 105–126.
Shulman L. S., (1987). Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform, Harvard Educ. Rev., 57(1), 1–22.
Tekkaya, C., Cakiroglu, J., & Ozkan, O. (2004). Turkish pre-service science teachers' understanding of science and their confidence in teaching it. Journal of Education for Teaching, 30(1), 57-68.
Van Driel J. H., De Jong O. & Verloop N., (2002). The development of preservice chemistry teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, Sci. Educ., 86(4), 572–590.
Yıldırım, A. & Şimşek, H. (2011). Sosyal bilimlerde nitel araştırma yöntemleri. [Qualitative research methods in social sciences] 8th. Edition, Ankara: Seçkin Yayınları, Turkey.
How to Cite
BEKTAS, Oktay. Pre-service Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge in the Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Topics. European Journal of Physics Education, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 41-53, feb. 2017. ISSN 1309-7202. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 28 may 2024.