ERG SES C 10, Curriculum and Education
Recently, basic objective of science education is to have scientifically literate society (American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] 1990; National Research Council, [NRC] 1996). In curriculum documents (e.g., AAAS, 1990; NRC, 1996) how scientific knowledge is acquired, nature of science (NOS), and the characteristics of scientists are highlighted, which are aspects of scientific literacy (Dillon, 2009).
The science education literature has not had consensus about what NOS is (Abd-El-Khalick, 2001). McComas, Clough and Almazroa (1998) stated that NOS “is a fertile hybrid arena which blends aspects of various social studies of science including the history, sociology, and philosophy of science combined with research from the cognitive sciences such as psychology into a rich description of what science is, how it works, how scientists operate as a social group and how society itself both directs and reacts to scientific endeavors.” (p.4). National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) revealed a report about NOS and its aspects that were tentative NOS, no single scientific method, the role of imagination and creativity in science, empirical basis of science, inferential/theoretical NOS, subjectivity in science, difference between theory and law, and socio-cultural embeddness of science.
Literature mentioned three approaches for teaching NOS: explicit, implicit and historical. Explicit approach assumes that NOS has to be included in science lessons and emphasized explicitly by using activities that ends with a whole class-discussion (Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, 2000). Implicit approach, however, assumes that students can learn NOS by doing observations and conducting experiments without explicit attention to NOS. Historical approach suggests the use of historical examples and scientists’ real stories. Research has shown the effectiveness of explicit approach (Lederman, 2007). Regarding teaching NOS, the embeddness of NOS into topic is also important. NOS can be taught either by embedding it into the content (i.e., teaching laws and theories in Gas Laws and Kinetic Theory by relating the differences between them to gas laws and kinetic theory) or without embedding it to the topic (content-generic) (Lederman, 2007).
To guarantee that teachers teach NOS, teacher education programs and science curriculum documents should provide what NOS is, aspects of NOS, and clues for teaching NOS explicitly (Lederman, 2007). It is vital because teachers have difficulty in teaching NOS. (Akerson, Abd-El-Khalick, & Lederman, 2000). Therefore, in light and help of NOS literature, we decided to analyze the science curriculum documents to see how they assist teachers’ teaching NOS. Curriculum documents are one of the basic components of education system. Hence, we assume that if curriculum documents state NOS objectives clearly, it will be useful and helpful for teachers to integrate NOS into science teaching. Additionally, McComas and Olson (1998) focused on NOS and analyzed eight science documents from the US (4 documents), Australia, New Zealand, England, and Canada. Results revealed that some aspects of NOS (e.g. role of creativity in science) were absent in those documents. Although concepts related to NOS (e.g. theory, hypothesis) were used frequently, they were not described in documents. McComas and Olson (1998) suggested that science curriculum documents that are not in English should be analyzed as well. Different cultures may/may not give priority to teach NOS. Therefore, McComas and Olson’s (1998) suggestions inspired us about conducting this research in which we analyzed Turkish documents regarding a) aspects of NOS stated by NSTA (2000), b) approach for addressing the aspects (explicit, implicit and historical), and c) embeddness of the aspects (content-generic and -embedded). We think that results will inform science education and NOS literature regarding how a non-English speaking country with its contextual features, put emphasis on NOS in secondary science (physics, biology, chemistry) curriculum documents.
Abd-El-Khalick, F., & Lederman, N. G. (2000). Improving science teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science: A critical review of the literature. International Journal of Science Education, 22(7), 665–701. Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2001). Embedding nature of science instruction in preservice elementary science courses: Abandoning scientism, but… Journal of Science teacher Education, 12(3), 215-233. Akerson, V.L., Abd-El-Khalick, F.S., & Lederman, N.G. (2000). Influence of a reflective activity-based approach on elementary teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37, 295–317. American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]. (1990). Benchmarks for science literacy: A Project 2061 report. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Bogdan R. C. & Biklen, S. K. (2007). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods (5th ed.). New York: Pearson Dillon, J. (2009). On Scientific Literacy and Curriculum Reform. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 4(3), 201-213. Lederman, N. G. (2007). Nature of science: Past, present, and future. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (pp. 831–879). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. McComas, W.F., Clough, M.P., & Almazroa, H. (1998). The Role and Character of the Nature of Science in Science Education In McComas (Ed.) The Nature of Science in Science Education: Rationales and Strategies (3-39), Kluwer Academic Publishers: The Netherlands. McComas, W.F. & Olson, J.K. (1998). The Nature of Science in International Science Education Standards Documents In McComas (Ed.) The Nature of Science in Science Education: Rationales and Strategies (41-52), Kluwer Academic Publishers: The Netherlands. National Research Council [NRC] (1996). National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. National Science Teachers Association [NSTA]. (2000). NSTA position statement on the nature of science. Retrieved January 7, 2014, from http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/natureofscience.aspx Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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