Pedagogical content knowledge for teaching concepts of the nature of science.
In, 9th Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education, Reykjavik, Iceland,
11 - 15 Jun 2008.
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This conference contribution seeks to provoke discussion of the question: If pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) can be represented for key science concepts, can it be established for aspects of the nature of science?’ I start from the premise that explicit, rather than implicit, teaching of aspects of the processes and practices of science is now expected in science curricula (variously labelled as ‘how science works’, ‘ideas-about-science’, ‘nature of science’), presenting challenges in classroom practice. The evidence base for understanding effective teaching and learning of the nature of science is developing but still limited. Much early research took the perspective that if teachers have a good understanding of the nature of science sound practice will follow. More recently, research projects have suggested a complex relationship between teachers’ understanding and their classroom practice. Little is known about how pupils develop and progress their understanding of the nature of science, adding to the difficulties in curriculum design and in understanding the PCK needed for effective practice. Nonetheless these are not reasons for not attempting to gain a better understanding of PCK for the nature of science. This contribution attempts to promote discussion of how barriers to understanding may be overcome. It will present examples of seeking PCK.
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