Pre-Service Science Teachers’ Conceptions of the Nature of Science and its Relationship to Classroom Practice
Katherine Pilongo – Caga-anan, Dr. John Mitchell O’Toole
Journal Title:Proceedings Journal of Interdisciplinary Research
There are significant tensions regarding relative international educational effectiveness. In the science education field such concerns churn around the extent of science understanding with which students leave school. There have been suggestions that this aspect of science literacy is related to how well teachers help students to understand the nature of science. Previous research indicates the existence of both naïve and sophisticated views of this among both teachers and students. However, little research exists regarding Filipino students preparing to teach science in a locally and international fluid context, particularly how their views of the nature of science relate to their classroom teaching practices.
It was the purpose of this qualitative study involving seven pre-service science teachers from a single institution in Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines, to better understand the relationship of teacher views of the nature of science and the way that they taught science during their final teaching practice. Data was gathered through non- participant class observations, document, interview and survey analysis.
Findings reveal that:
(a) These pre-service science teachers hold a mixture of naïve and sophisticated views of the nature of science; (b) Their views of science as empirically based (a potentially sophisticated view), subject to strict method and producing absolute knowledge (naïve views) transferred into their planning and delivery of practice lessons to a minor but discernible extent;
(c) The views of science emerging from interview and survey were more varied and more sophisticated than appeared from the lessons planned or observed.
The implications of this study are significant because they support some indications in the literature that wider teacher conceptions can translate into practice. This suggests that change in the conceptions held by these teachers might lead to change in the experiences they offer to students in their classes. The research process piloted in this small study could be scaled up to make a useful contribution to science education as the nation for which it was context moves into a period of rapid curriculum change.