10 SES 01 C, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
In 2011 Neumann et al. stated that research still shows the importance of Nature of Science (NOS) in science teaching and learning (Abd‐El‐Khalick 2006; Clough 2006; Lederman 2007; Lombrozo et al. 2008; NRC 2000; Scharmann, Smith, James & Jensen 2005) and its central role in national and international science standards (McComas & Olson 1998). It is still a challenge to design appropriate leaning environments in teacher education to promote the development of informed views about NOS.
Starting to apply courses in pre-service chemistry teacher education at the University of Vienna the author noticed that students have difficulties in reflecting their experiences with lab work and with research practices they happen to participate in. Teacher students seemed to carry many inadequate beliefs about NOS. “Epistemological perspectives […] have been shown to be related to learning in various ways […] and have implications for teaching” (Hofer 2001, p. 353). Especially ‘beliefs about knowledge and knowing’ influence how teachers design learning environments. Research has shown that beliefs about the ‘nature of knowledge’ may influence strategy use, cognitive processing and conceptual change learning (Qian & Alvermann 2000). Seeing science learning in school as a basis for lifelong learning, it is crucial that science teachers have to provide learning environments which promote the development of appropriate beliefs about aspects of NOS.
To give science teacher students the opportunity to learn and reflect about aspects of NOS a course was designed which combined content learning about NOS with planning and conducting an investigation about the beliefs of biology, chemistry and physics students (teacher students as well as discipline students). Five chemistry teacher students took part in this voluntary ‘research-course’. While reading and discussing texts dealing with epistemological fundamentals and research about NOS, students started to reflect their own epistemological beliefs. For the planned survey the ‘Views of Nature of Science questionnaire’ (VNOS) (Abd-El-Khalick, Lederman, Bell & Schwartz 2001) was used as basis. Focus was laid on the following NOS-aspects: tentative nature of scientific knowledge, empirical nature of scientific knowledge, experimental approach, significance and use of models, difference and relationship between scientific theories and laws, creativity and imaginativeness, cultural imprint.
Selected research questions are:
- What epistemological beliefs do teacher students and discipline students hold?
- Do teacher students and discipline students hold different epistemological beliefs?
- Do biology, chemistry and physics teacher students hold different epistemological beliefs?
Because time in such a course can’t be sufficient to answer all these questions, focus was set on chemistry student’s beliefs first. Analysis concerning the comparison of chemistry teacher students’ and chemistry discipline students’ answers to the questionnaire is already done by the five students and the author. To answer the research questions more differentiated two diploma theses started to work with the database. On the one hand, they focus on beliefs about the importance of the experimental approach in science and, on the other hand, on beliefs about the knowledge about the nature of atoms.
Abd‐El‐Khalick, F. (2006). Over and over again: College students’ views of nature of science. In Flick, L. & Lederman, N. (Eds.). Scientific inquiry and nature of science, Dordrecht: Springer (p. 389–425). Abd-El-Khalick, F., Lederman, N., Bell, R. & Schwartz, R. (2001). Views of Nature of Science Quesitionnaire (VNOS): Towards valid and meaningful Assessment of learners’ conceptions of nature of Science. AETS, Costa mesa, CA. Clough, M. (2006). Learners’ responses to the demands of conceptual change: Considerations for effective nature of science instruction. Science Education, 15: 463–494. Hofer, B. (2001). Personal epistemology research: Implications for Learning and Teaching. Educational Psychology Review, 13. Lederman, N. (2007). Nature of science: Past, present, and future. In Abell, S. & Lederman, N. (Eds.). Handbook of research on science education. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. (p. 831–879). Lombrozo, T., Thanukos, A. & Weisberg, M. (2008). The importance of understanding the nature of science for accepting evolution. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 1: 290–298. McComas, W. & Olson, J. (1998). The nature of science in international science education standards documents. In McComas, W. (Ed.) The nature of science in science education: Rationales and strategies, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. (p. 41–52). Neumann, I., Neumann, K. & Nehm, R. (2011). Evaluating Instrument Quality in Science Education: Rasch-based analyses of a Nature of Science test. IJSE 33(10), 1373-1405. NRC (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards, Washington, DC: National Academic Press. Qian, G. & Alvermann, D. (2000). Relationship between epistemological beliefs and conceptual change learning. Reading Writing Q. 16: 59–74. Scharmann, L., Smith, M., James, M. & Jensen, M. (2005). Explicit reflective nature of science instruction: Evolution, intelligent design, and umbrellaology. JSTE, 16: 27–41. Schwartz, R., Lederman, N. & Lederman, J. (2008). An instrument to assess views of scientific inquiry: The VOSI questionnaire. NARST. Baltimore.
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