Previous literature suggests that service learning may offer new opportunities to support the development of preservice science and math teachers, but few studies examine service learning beyond isolated teaching events. In this qualitative study, we attempt to improve upon this literature by following Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students’ views of their service learning experiences throughout their MAT program and first two years teaching. Data sources included audiotaped individual interviews, focus group field notes, and surveys with seven preservice teachers over a three-year period. Three major findings emerged from the data analysis. First, participants identified characteristics of service learning teaching events that made them particularly useful, and these included the timing of events, targeted grade level, exposure to high-needs contexts, and opportunities to practice pedagogical skills. Second, participation in the service learning events improved preservice teachers’ confidence and comfort teaching in high-needs contexts, but several concerns and deficit perspectives about teaching in high-needs contexts remained. Third, participants indicated specific ways that the service learning teaching events impacted their readiness to teach in high-needs contexts. These findings may inform other science and math teacher educators seeking to embed service learning opportunities into their programs.
Kent State University
Noyce Award Number1136377
Borgerding, L.A. & Caniglia, J. (2017). Service learning within a Secondary Math and Science Te4acher Education Program: Preservice MAT Teachers’ Perspectives. School Science and Mathematics 117(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/ssm.12210.