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ERIC Number: EJ1136380
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0256-0100
Exploring South African High School Teachers' Conceptions of the Nature of Scientific Inquiry: A Case Study
Dudu, Washington T.
South African Journal of Education, v34 n1 Article 782 2014
The paper explores conceptions of the nature of scientific inquiry (NOSI) held by five teachers who were purposively and conveniently sampled. Teachers' conceptions of the NOSI were determined using a Probes questionnaire. To confirm teachers' responses, a semi-structured interview was conducted with each teacher. The Probes questionnaire was based on six tenets of the nature of scientific inquiry but only three tenets are presented in this paper, namely: (1) scientists use a variety of methods to conduct scientific investigations; (2) scientific knowledge is socially and culturally embedded; and (3) scientific knowledge is partly the product of human creativity and imagination. The study found that the teachers held mixed NOSI conceptions. These conceptions were fluid and lacked coherence, ranging from static, empiricist-aligned to dynamic, constructivist-oriented conceptions. Although all participants expressed some views that were consistent with current, acceptable conceptions of NOSI, some held inadequate (naïve) views on the crucial three NOSI tenets. The significance of this study rests in recommending explicit teaching of NOSI during pre-service and in-service training which enables teachers to possess informed conceptions about NOSI. With these informed conceptions, teachers may internalise the instructional importance of the NOSI which, in turn, may help avoid the lack of attention to NOSI currently evidenced in teachers' instructional decisions. This might result in teachers' orientations shifting towards an explicit inquiry-based approach from that of an implicit science process and discovery approach.
Education Association of South Africa. University of Pretoria, Centre for the Study of Resilience, Level 3, Groenkloof Student Centre, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, George Storrar Road and Lleyds Street, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Tel: +27-12-420-5798; Fax: +27-12-420-5511; Web site: http://www.sajournalofeducation.co.za/index.php/saje/index
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Grade 11; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa