Teacher educators and researchers have studied the improvement of teacher education programs so that pre-service teachers may be well prepared. Research has shown that not only teachers' knowledge but also their beliefs have major influence on their approach to teaching. This present research examined the mathematics and science pre-service teachers' beliefs and perceptions in Turkey. Specifically, the study focused on the student-teachers' perspectives on "effective education" at the end of their subject area dominant program before the student teaching and the changes in those beliefs after having teaching experience. Many pre-service teachers described the teacher-centered environment as effective, and those who supported a student-centered environment discussed difficulties they faced in creating it during student and full-time teaching. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.