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ERIC Number: EJ960212
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 57
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0263-5143
Developing a Science Teacher Education Course That Supports Student Teachers' Thinking and Teaching about the Nature of Science
Sorensen, Pete; Newton, Len; McCarthy, Sue
Research in Science & Technological Education, v30 n1 p29-47 2012
Background and purpose: This paper reports on part of an ongoing research project in England concerning the Nature of Science (NOS). The particular focus is on the initial thinking of the graduate scientists starting a one-year, Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) course and the way the course approaches adopted influence their views and understanding of NOS and their teaching. The research is set against a wealth of literature indicating that teachers find it difficult to teach curricula that emphasise NOS. Thus a key impetus for research in this area has been to look for ways that beginning teachers might be better prepared to face such challenges. Sample: The paper draws on data from three cohorts of secondary PGCE students in a university-schools partnership, involving a total of 169 students. Design and method: The research lies within a design research tradition. It has used mixed methods, involving written tasks, interviews and focus groups, with an iterative approach where the outcomes from one cohort have been used to inform course developments in successive years. Results: The results from these cohorts suggest that, while the students starting the course have a less restricted view of NOS than indicated by some other studies, in most cases there is a lack of breadth and depth to their understanding. There is some evidence that the use of specific tasks focusing on NOS in university-based sessions may be helping to develop and deepen understanding. However, the impact of current approaches remains fairly limited and attempts to develop teaching practices often face considerable barriers in the school-based practicum. Conclusions: Graduate science students' understanding of NOS as they embark on the PGCE is not highly developed. Hence, the emphasis on aspects of NOS in the school curriculum presents a considerable challenge. This study suggests that there is a need to both further develop an explicit focus on NOS in university-based sessions and to develop closer relationships between schools and university faculty in seeking to support developments in classroom practice in this difficult area. (Contains 2 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)