Two Models of Teaching Content Methods Courses for Prospective Elementary Teachers in one Texas Regional University

Karen E. McIntush, M. Ed, Sylvia Taube, Ph. D


This study compared two different models of teaching pre-service elementary teachers during their content methods semester focusing on best teaching practices in mathematics, science and social studies. One involved one instructor teaching three content courses in an integrated manner; the other involved multiple instructors teaching their areas of “expertise”.  Two years of data were collected and analysed using multiple variables including performance on standardized teacher certification examinations and formal observations from teacher-mentors and student teaching supervisors. Comparing group weighted mean values on student teaching evaluations and passing rates on the state teacher certification examinations indicated the “content-expert” group and the “integrated” group did not differ on these quantitative measures. Responses to an online survey using a focus group of 38 teacher candidates revealed distinct difference in responses to the open-ended questions. Implications suggest the importance of developing pedagogical content knowledge as well as meeting the social, emotional, and “safety” needs of prospective teachers while they are still in training. Specific actions taken to restructure the teacher preparation program are discussed. Insights from this action research may prove beneficial to those engaged in designing or restructuring teacher-preparation programs.




elementary education; pre-service teachers; pedagogy; content methods; integrated curriculum; pedagogical content knowledge

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