ERIC Number: EJ1003077
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 85
Prospective Elementary Teachers' Understanding of the Nature of Science and Perceptions of the Classroom Learning Environment
Martin-Dunlop, Catherine S.
Research in Science Education, v43 n3 p873-893 Jun 2013
This study investigated prospective elementary teachers' understandings of the nature of science and explored associations with their guided-inquiry science learning environment. Over 500 female students completed the Nature of Scientific Knowledge Survey (NSKS), although only four scales were analyzed-Creative, Testable, Amoral, and Unified. The learning environment was assessed using previously-validated and reliable scales from What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) and the Science Laboratory Environment Inventory (SLEI). Analyses indicated moderate multiple correlations that were statistically significant (p less than 0.01) between Creative (R = 0.22), Testable (R = 0.29), and Unified (R = 0.27), and a positive learning environment. Regression coefficients revealed that Open-Endedness was a significant independent predictor of students' understanding of the role of creativity in science ([beta] = 0.16), while Cooperation, Open-Endedness, and Material Environment were linked with understanding the testable nature of science ([beta] = 0.10-0.12). Interview questions probed possible relationships between an improved understanding of the nature of science and elements of a positive classroom environment. Responses suggested that an appropriate level of open-endedness during investigations was very important as this helped students grapple with abstract nature of science concepts and shift their conceptions closer to a more realistic view of scientific practice.
Descriptors: Preservice Teachers, Elementary School Teachers, Scientific Principles, Classroom Environment, Inquiry, Active Learning, Correlation, Regression (Statistics), Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A