This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Exploration of Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Science Teaching Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Noticing of Students’ Scientific Thinking




Dailey, Brandi

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching

Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



The ability to notice students' thinking is essential for effective science instruction, and science teaching self-efficacy influences teaching effectiveness. This mixed-methods study explored elementary preservice teachers’ (PSTs) science teaching self-efficacy (STSE) and their beliefs about noticing students’ scientific thinking in written artifacts. It also evaluated the impact of a noticing lesson intervention on PSTs' STSE and their noticing skills. Quantitative methods utilized an efficacy and belief instrument in combination with written tasks evaluated with a created rubric grounded in the teacher noticing framework—attending, interpreting, and responding. Correlation and bivariate analyses were conducted. Results indicated no significant relationship between PSTs’ STSE and their ability to notice and no significant difference in their noticing following the intervention. Qualitative insights were gleaned through thematic analysis of the noticing tasks and written reflections, revealing patterns and interrelations. Emergent themes indicated PSTs noticed superficially before and after the noticing intervention, illuminating how noticing takes time and guidance, and the critical role of content knowledge for noticing. Additionally, themes revealed that PSTs were confident in their ability to notice students’ science ideas and were improving. Study findings suggest that more experiential learning opportunities with guidance and scaffolding could help PSTs improve their noticing skills. The findings also advocate for strengthening PSTs' content knowledge so they are equipped with the requisite skills to notice students' thinking more effectively. This study contributes to the discourse on improving elementary science education by targeting best practices for supporting PSTs on the complex skill of noticing.