As students enter and progress through the secondary grades, reading and understanding the concepts in the content area of science becomes increasingly difficult. The concepts presented to students to learn in a secondary science classroom become much more complex and abstract. Students are expected to read a large volume of complex and detailed texts in the secondary classroom. Students who cannot read and comprehend what they are reading for their secondary science classes are at a high risk of failing their science classes. A 2008 study by National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found that a majority of secondary students in the United States do not graduate with a proficient level in the content area of science (Kuenzi, 2008). Students without proficient skills in the content area of science will not be able to pursue careers in the scientific field. Careers in the scientific field such as medicine and engineering are higher paying careers in our country and students without science proficiency will be at a disadvantage in pursuing these lucrative careers (National Research Council, 2010).
Therefore, it is vitally important that secondary science teachers possess the skills and the ability to teach all students in their classroom in an effective manner. Current research shows that science teachers who can make their science lessons meaningful to students by connecting classroom concepts to their student’s real lives are much more successful in their teaching than teachers who do not (Kanter, 2010). Research also shows that secondary science teachers need to possess excellent science content knowledge to be effective secondary science teachers (Kuenzi, 2008).
This paper explores how three teaching strategies and theories can be used by classroom teachers to help students gain science proficiency in their classrooms. The concepts are interrelated and will be discussed as such. These concepts are content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and technological pedagogical content knowledge.
Subject Content Knowledge
Shulman (1986) identified three types of content knowledge for teachers. This paper focuses on the first two only. Subject content knowledge refers to what teachers know about the subject they teach. For example, science teachers must know about the theories, concepts, emerging ideas and vocabulary of the scientific subject they teach (Becker and Aloe, 2008).
More importantly, teachers must be able to teach or convey their subject content knowledge to the students they teach. This paper focuses on teacher accomplishing this by making the subject content knowledge relevant to all students in their classroom. Additionally, teachers must present subject content knowledge in innovative and interesting ways to their students. This is the challenge of secondary classroom teachers today.
Therefore, teachers must have a depth of subject content knowledge to be a good science...