This paper presents review of the study report titled “Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Discontentment: Its Sources and Potential for Change” by Southerland, Sowell, and Enderle (2011). In the introduction, the authors state that pedagogical discontent is necessary if reforms in science teaching are to be made. Pedagogical discontent occurs when the teacher recognizes that his teaching practices do not deliver teaching goals. Only the teacher who is discontented with the outcomes of his teaching practices will be willing to learn new practices. Accordingly, the goal of the study was to explore pedagogical discontentment and to describe the sources of pedagogical discontentment among science teachers.
The study was a qualitative descriptive study involving the use of structured interviews to collect data from practicing science teachers. The data was analyzed through systematic coding to identify areas of pedagogical discontentment. The areas of discontent identified were science content knowledge, how to balance depth and breadth of instruction, ability to teach all students, implementing inquiry instruction, and assessment of science learning. In their conclusion, the authors noted that pedagogical discontent is important for change and can be deployed through the teacher reflecting on how successful a teaching session is.
The subject of pedagogical discontent as discussed by this article is certainly important for the practicing teacher who wants to improve student learning outcomes in science. The areas of pedagogical discontent identified in the study can be addressed in professional development programs. However, from the perspective of the teacher-in-training, pedagogical discontent may not be a very appropriate way to approach teaching reform. First, teacher training programs should incorporate all the proven reform-minded science instruction practices into their curriculum. Secondly, teachers-in-training should be taught how to evaluate the effectiveness of pedagogical practices and how to identify areas where change is needed.