Hanley, Pam, Ratcliffe, Mary and Osborne, Jonathan
Teachers’ experiences of teaching ‘ideas-about-science’ and socio-scientific issues
At European Science Education Association Conference (ESERA) 2007.
21 - 25 Aug 2007.
Teaching of socio-scientific issues encourages a focus on ‘ideas-about-science’ (the processes and practices of science) and consideration of scientific evidence and values. This paper reports an evaluation of teachers’ practice and views as they taught an innovative pilot course (Twenty First Century Science) to pupils in their last two years of compulsory schooling. Using classroom observation, questionnaires and interviews of teachers, the evaluation explored the extent to which teachers were successful in handling ‘ideas-about-science’ and how the two components of the course (‘ideas-about-science’ and science explanations) were interrelated and recognised in the teaching. Teachers saw the course as very interesting but very challenging to teach. Despite declaring some confidence in their understanding of ‘ideas-about-science’, science explanations dominated over ‘ideas-about-science’ in teachers’ perceptions of the focus of the course and in their teaching. There was gradual change in practice to incorporate more discursive pedagogies, suggesting that several cycles through the course are needed for teachers to appreciate its aims fully and support the teaching of socio-scientific issues effectively.
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