Education Sciences, Vol. 14, Pages 649: Supporting the Teacher Identity of Pre-Service Science Teachers through Working at a Non-Formal STEM Learning Laboratory

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Education Sciences, Vol. 14, Pages 649: Supporting the Teacher Identity of Pre-Service Science Teachers through Working at a Non-Formal STEM Learning Laboratory

Education Sciences doi: 10.3390/educsci14060649

Authors: Outi Haatainen Johannes Pernaa Reija Pesonen Julia Halonen Maija Aksela

This qualitative case study aims to examine the role of a non-formal STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning laboratory in supporting the development of teacher identity among pre-service science teachers. With teacher identity impacting the educational responsiveness and resilience of a teacher, it is important to support the professional identity of STEM educators if we are to enhance the quality of STEM education. Data collection occurred in three stages between 2017 and 2024. Qualitative content analysis through an inductive category formation was used for data analysis. The intercoder reliability was checked (Cohen’s kappa 0.802). Results suggest that non-formal STEM learning environments can enhance pre-service teachers’ professional learning and identity by allowing the autonomous practical application of theory in an authentic collaborative laboratory environment and by strengthening their self-efficacy through positive teaching experiences. Participants reported that such versatile experiences are generally not available during their formal university education. This study offers suggestions for STEM teacher education and insights into ongoing research dialogues about the role of non-formal learning in supporting the learning and identity of STEM teachers.

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