Teacher candidates’ development of pedagogical design capacity for inquiry-based concept lessons
This study explores and describes the developmental processes of pedagogical design capacities (PDC) for lessons and generates hypotheses to characterize PDC for inquiry-oriented lessons of a case sample of elementary (K-6) education teacher candidates (hereafter, candidates) as they engaged in design tasks in a social studies methods course within a teacher education program. The results indicated candidates had inherent, yet varied, pedagogical content design strategies fitting their perception of lesson design as they attended the social studies methods course where they engaged in design tasks. Candidates showed improvement in their development and implementation of PDC for inquiry-oriented concept lessons when engaged in lesson designs based on reform ideas. Candidates’ lesson design dispositions, lesson design practices, and the dynamics of interactions with specific personal, curricular and contextual resource input dimensions, however, determined their design actions and effected the degree of their competence to construct reformed-based lessons. Three design actions were observed in candidates’ PDC for inquiry-oriented lessons: optimizing, acceding or complying, and reframing design actions. The study hypothesized that changing candidates’ prior perceived lesson design efficacy, sustaining strategic scaffolding and modeling of reformed lessons, targeting support for noticing and setting explicit expectations on key reformed lessons design elements, and ongoing professional development on how to methodically mobilize resources will influence their development and implementation of PDC for inquiry-oriented lessons as they engage in design tasks. Further hypotheses-testing study is warranted to validate these hypotheses.