Osborne, Jonathan, Ratcliffe, Mary and Bartholomew, Hannah
Teaching pupils 'ideas-about-science': Case studies from the classroom
At European Science Education Research Association conference.
01 Aug 2003.
In this paper, we report work undertaken with a group of 11 teachers over a period of a year to teach aspects of the nature of science. The teachers, who taught science in a mix of elementary, junior high, and high schools, were asked to teach components of the nature of science for which consensus had been established using a Delphi study in the first phase of the project. Data were collected through field notes, videos, teachers’ reflective diaries, instruments that measured their understanding of the nature of science and the role of discussion in the classroom. In addition, data were collected of their pupils’ understanding of the nature of science, pre- and post-intervention, and that for a control. In this paper, drawing on a sample of the data we explore the factors that afforded or inhibited the teachers’ pedagogic performance in this domain. Using these data, we argue that there are 5 critical dimensions that distinguish and determine a teacher’s ability to teach effectively about science. Whilst these dimensions are neither mutually independent nor equally important, they serve as a valuable analytical tool for analysing and explaining the success, or otherwise, that individual teachers have when confronted with teaching components of the nature of science. In addition, we argue that they are an important means of identifying salient aspects of pedagogy for initial and in-service training of teachers for curricula that require the teaching of the nature of science.
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