Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Winston Edward Massam

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Peter Kajoro


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The problem-solving teaching strategy is the key scientific pedagogy that develops a conceptual and contextual understanding of scientific knowledge, skills, and attitude in real life. This study aimed to explore the student teachers' knowledge and use of problem-solving teaching

strategies in a science classroom. The study involved a case study at one specifically selected Primary Teachers' College in the Lira district. It purposefully involved 10 student teachers from a selected PTC conducting their final school practice while their learners participated in science lessons. Semi-structured interviews with the student teachers, classroom observations, document reviews, and analysis were used to gather qualitative data. The data was transcribed verbatim, coded, and thematically analyzed to produce the themes. This qualitative study used a cognitive constructivist theoretical framework to understand problem-based learning classrooms.

The findings of this study are reflected through themes: 1) student teachers’ understanding of problem-solving teaching strategy, 2) the use of problem-solving teaching strategy in a science classroom, and 3) challenges encountered during problem-based learning. The findings of the study showed that; a) the transferable abilities/skills that the learners are meant to develop during teaching and learning were inadequate, b) limited knowledge and the application of problem-solving teaching strategies, c) tutors’ support to student teachers in terms of science pedagogical approaches appeared to be wanting and, d) inability of student teachers to connect their college-acquired knowledge to its application during the planning of science problem-based learning.

The study also found a few difficulties that impacted the student teachers' presentations, especially their inability to manage learners with different learning preferences. Also, time was not helpful for all categories of learners in correspondence. Therefore, based on the findings, the focus needs to be given at the training institutions to help promote the transferability of problem-based learning abilities to student teachers for their learners to realize learning importance, science curricula for primary teachers' colleges and primary schools should be practical and applicable in real life. Similarly, much attention is needed on the tooling and retooling of student teachers and teachers on problem-based learning