Exploring what contributes to the knowledge development of secondary physics and physical science teachers in a continuous professional development context
This dissertation used qualitative methodologies, specifically phenomenological research, to investigate what contributes to the development of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of physics and physical science teachers who participate in a content-specific continuous professional development program. There were five participants in this study. The researcher conducted participant observations and interviews, rated participants degree of reformed teaching practices using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol, surveyed participants' self-efficacy beliefs using the Science Teacher Efficacy Belief Instrument "A," and rated participants'' level of PCK using the PCK Rubrics. All data were analyzed, and a composite description of what contributes to physics and physical science teachers' PCK development through a continuous professional development program emerged. A theory also emerged from the participants' experiences pertaining to how teachers' assimilate new conditions into their existing teaching schema, how conditions change teachers' perceptions of their practice, and outcomes of teachers' new ideas towards their practice. This study contributed to the literature by suggesting emergent themes and a theory on the development of physics and physical science teachers' PCK. PCK development is theorized to be a spiral process incorporating new conditions into the spiral as teachers employ new science content knowledge and pedagogical practices in their individual classroom contexts.