ERIC Number: ED439949
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Fostering Instrumentalist Conceptions of the Nature of Science: A Classroom Study.
Larson, Jane O.
This case study of learning explores the relationship between a chemistry teacher's instrumentalist perspective on the nature of science, the classroom culture that flourished through curriculum enactment during the course of a school year, and development of perspectives on science by his students. An ethnographic methodology was employed, with participant observer field notes, interviews, and text analysis as major sources of data. From the outset, the teacher explicitly interjected his views on the nature of science into class lectures and discussions with the intent of alleviating student fears of higher-level science courses. In addition, students implicitly learned about the process of scientific inquiry through participation in lab work and science projects. Data from exit interviews exploring students' views on the nature of science confirmed that most students were instrumentalist in their perspectives. Six of the teacher's instructional techniques were identified as contributing to a classroom culture that fostered this viewpoint: modeling scientific inquiry and attitudes; interjecting anecdotes related to the development of scientific concepts; using explicit language; employing high level questioning; providing a supportive classroom atmosphere for the exploration of science; and involving students in independent science projects. (Contains 16 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (New Orleans, LA, April 28-May 1, 2000).