ERIC Number: EJ719772
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Mar-18
Reference Count: 40
About Being Pure and Natural: Understandings of Pre-Service Primary Teachers
International Journal of Science Education, v27 n4 p487-506 Mar 2005
In an investigation of 149 pre-service primary teachers' understanding of the terms "pure" and "natural," the participants were asked to provide definitions of the two words, and classify various substances including drugs of abuse, pharmaceuticals, nutriceuticals, and household substances as either natural or not natural, and as pure or not pure. A common scale of "purity" and "naturalness" could be constructed consistent with the Rasch model, suggesting that the participants conflate the two terms. This conflation is consistent with the qualitative data that suggested participants associated both concepts within a common spiritual metaphor, heavily laden with emotive content. Purity was not seen as relating to the composition of a substance, but to its history. The findings may help explain the development of persistent non-scientific chemical taxonomies observed in secondary students. Furthermore, as health educators, the participants may become the source of inappropriate messages about the use of medicines, or the abuse of drugs.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Preservice Teachers, Elementary School Teachers, Figurative Language, Natural Resources, Linguistics, Drug Abuse, Medicine, Narcotics, Scientific Concepts, Semantics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia