School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Randy Tierce


Novice Elementary School Teachers, Pedagogical Content Knowledge or PCK, Self-efficacy


Education | Elementary Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand perceptions of self-efficacy in science pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) for novice elementary school teachers at various elementary schools in central Georgia. Novice elementary school teachers were those traditionally prepared, and self-efficacy was the confidence in science PCK for elementary school teachers. The two theories guiding this study included Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and Shulman’s theory of PCK, as they supported the process of self-efficacy and PCK of novice elementary school teachers. The participants included 15–20 elementary school teachers who completed a traditional teacher preparation program and had fewer than 5 years of teaching experience. The setting was various elementary schools in central Georgia. Data collection followed qualitative procedures and included individual interviews, surveys utilizing the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument, and a focus group interview. Data analysis included interview transcription, data coding, horizonalization, reduction and elimination, clustering and thematizing, and construction of textural descriptions to give an overview of the teachers’ perceptions. The research resulted in an understanding of the experiences of novice elementary teachers while teaching science content. The findings of this research revealed varied experiences of novice elementary teachers and self-efficacy related to science PCK. Although participants in this study expressed their love of the teaching profession, most of them expressed negative emotions when confronted with teaching science at the elementary level. This negatively impacted their self-efficacy. Further research should focus on a different demographics (gender, race, age) and veteran educators who still may struggle with self-efficacy.