Science Teaching (science + teaching)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Measuring knowledge of natural selection: A comparison of the CINS, an open-response instrument, and an oral interview

Ross H. Nehm
Abstract Growing recognition of the central importance of fostering an in-depth understanding of natural selection has, surprisingly, failed to stimulate work on the development and rigorous evaluation of instruments that measure knowledge of it. We used three different methodological tools, the Conceptual Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS), a modified version of Bishop and Anderson's (Bishop and Anderson [1990] Journal of Research in Science Teaching 27: 415,427) open-response test that we call the Open Response Instrument (ORI), and an oral interview derived from both instruments, to measure biology majors' understanding of and alternative conceptions about natural selection. We explored how these instruments differentially inform science educators about the knowledge and alternative conceptions their students harbor. Overall, both the CINS and ORI provided excellent replacements for the time-consuming process of oral interviews and produced comparable measures of key concept diversity and, to a lesser extent, key concept frequency. In contrast, the ORI and CINS produced significantly different measures of both alternative conception diversity and frequency, with the ORI results completely concordant with oral interview results. Our study indicated that revisions of both the CINS and ORI are necessary because of numerous instrument items characterized by low discriminability, high and/or overlapping difficulty, and mismatches with the sample. While our results revealed that both instruments are valid and generally reliable measures of knowledge and alternative conceptions about natural selection, a test combining particular components of both instruments,a modified version of the CINS to test for key concepts, and a modified version of the ORI to assess student alternative conceptions,should be used until a more approprite instrument is developed and rigorously evaluated. 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 1131,1160, 2008 [source]

Networking School Teachers to Promote Better Practice in the Teaching of Science across Europe

Teachers are often confined to their classrooms with limited or no time to share with colleagues the difficulties they face, their concerns, and their successful initiatives. This leads to a situation where they end up teaching in ways and approaches they believe to be best with no chance to know how others may be approaching similar difficulties in different and potentially more effective ways. Teachers do not have the opportunity to share and collaborate on projects with other education professionals, as their daily routine confines them to their school premises. This article discusses how the Comenius 3 project ,Hands on Science' has helped to create a network through which regular meetings in the forms of conferences on science for teachers were and are still organised to promote good practice in science teaching. The method used for connecting so many teachers across Europe was through key persons strategically chosen across the different partner countries. The conferences organised by the network differed from academic conferences in that they provided a platform for teachers to share their successes in teaching different aspects of science, particularly through the promotion of the use of experiments and other hands on approaches. [source]

The relative effects and equity of inquiry-based and commonplace science teaching on students' knowledge, reasoning, and argumentation

Christopher D. Wilson
Abstract We conducted a laboratory-based randomized control study to examine the effectiveness of inquiry-based instruction. We also disaggregated the data by student demographic variables to examine if inquiry can provide equitable opportunities to learn. Fifty-eight students aged 14,16 years old were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Both groups of students were taught toward the same learning goals by the same teacher, with one group being taught from inquiry-based materials organized around the BSCS 5E Instructional Model, and the other from materials organized around commonplace teaching strategies as defined by national teacher survey data. Students in the inquiry-based group reached significantly higher levels of achievement than students experiencing commonplace instruction. This effect was consistent across a range of learning goals (knowledge, reasoning, and argumentation) and time frames (immediately following the instruction and 4 weeks later). The commonplace science instruction resulted in a detectable achievement gap by race, whereas the inquiry-based materials instruction did not. We discuss the implications of these findings for the body of evidence on the effectiveness of teaching science as inquiry; the role of instructional models and curriculum materials in science teaching; addressing achievement gaps; and the competing demands of reform and accountability. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:276,301, 2010 [source]

Confronting assumptions, biases, and stereotypes in preservice teachers' conceptualizations of science teaching through the use of book club

Felicia Moore Mensah
Abstract This study focuses on the structure and theoretical foundations of the book club for promoting multicultural understandings in science teacher education. The book club was defined as an informal, peer-directed group discussion that met regularly to discuss an ethnographic, multicultural text regarding issues pertinent to science teaching and learning in urban classrooms. Twenty-three preservice teachers (PSTs) enrolled in a 16-week elementary science methods course at a large urban university participated in the study. From the qualitative analyses of PSTs' written reflections and researcher journal notes, five themes which emphasize Individual, Collaborative, and Collective learning are presented. These findings highlight how the book club structure and theoretical foundation fostered critical, reflective inquiry and served as a method for effecting ideological change which is needed in order to embrace issues of diversity in urban science education. Implications for science teacher education concerning the relevancy of pedagogical strategies, the use of multiple theoretical perspectives, and the book club as a strategy in teacher education and urban education are discussed. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 1041,1066, 2009 [source]

Real world contexts in PISA science: Implications for context-based science education

Peter J. Fensham
Abstract The PISA assessment instruments for students' scientific literacy in 2000, 2003, and 2006 have each consisted of units made up of a real world context involving Science and Technology, about which students are asked a number of cognitive and affective questions. This article discusses a number of issues from this use of S&T contexts in PISA and the implications they have for the current renewed interest in context-based science education. Suitably chosen contexts can engage both boys and girls. Secondary analyses of the students' responses using the contextual sets of items as the unit of analysis provides new information about the levels of performance in PISA 2006 Science. Embedding affective items in the achievement test did not lead to gender/context interactions of significance, and context interactions were less than competency ones. A number of implications for context-based science teaching and learning are outlined and the PISA 2006 Science test is suggested as a model for its assessment. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 884,896, 2009 [source]

Students' use of the energy model to account for changes in physical systems

Nicos Papadouris
Abstract The aim of this study is to explore the ways in which students, aged 11,14 years, account for certain changes in physical systems and the extent to which they draw on an energy model as a common framework for explaining changes observed in diverse systems. Data were combined from two sources: interviews with 20 individuals and an open-ended questionnaire that was administered to 240 students (121 upper elementary school students and 119 middle school students). We observed a wealth of approaches ranging from accounts of energy transfer and transformation to responses identifying specific objects or processes as the cause of changes. The findings also provide evidence that students do not seem to appreciate the transphenomenological and unifying nature of energy. Students' thinking was influenced by various conceptual difficulties that are compounded by traditional science teaching; for instance, students tended to confuse energy with force or electric current. In addition, the comparison between the responses from middle school students and those of elementary school students demonstrates that science teaching and maturation appeared to have a negligible influence on whether students had constructed a coherent energy model, which they could use consistently to account for changes in certain physical systems. 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 444,469, 2008 [source]

Reforming practice or modifying reforms?: Elementary teachers' response to the tools of reform

Leigh K. Smith
Understanding the interaction between internally constructed and externally imposed aspects of the teaching context may be the missing link between calls for school reform and teachers' interpretation and implementation of that reform. Although the context of the local school culture has a profound impact on teachers, there are other external forces that are specifically aimed at influencing teachers' pedagogical and curricular decisions. These externally imposed aspects of context include some of the existing tools of reform, such as national standards, mandated state core curricula, and related criterion-referenced testing. However, little is known about how these reform tools impact teachers' thinking about science and science teaching or how teachers respond to such tools. This study examined the interactions between individual teachers' beliefs about teaching and learning science in elementary school and the tools of reform that are imposed upon them. Comparative case studies were conducted in which two elementary teachers' science instruction, teaching context, and related beliefs were examined, described, and analyzed. In this study, the teachers' fundamental beliefs about science and what it means to teach and learn science influenced their interpretations of the sometimes contradictory messages of reform as they are represented in the standards, mandated curriculum, and end-of-level tests. Suggestions about what these findings mean for needed aspects of teacher professional development are offered. 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 396,423, 2007 [source]

Everyday objects of learning about health and healing and implications for science education

Wanja Gitari
The role of science education in rural development is of great interest to science educators. In this study I investigated how residents of rural Kirumi, Kenya, approach health and healing, through discussions and semistructured and in-depth interviews with 150 residents, 3 local herbalists, and 2 medical researchers over a period of 6 months. I constructed objects of learning by looking for similarities and differences within interpretive themes. Objects of learning found comprise four types of personal learning tools, three types of relational learning tools, three genres of moral obligation, and five genres of knowledge guarding. Findings show that rural people use (among other learning tools) inner sensing to engage thought processes that lead to health and healing knowledge. The sociocultural context is also an important component in learning. Inner sensing and residents' sociocultural context are not presently emphasized in Kenyan science teaching. I discuss the potential use of rural objects of learning in school science, with specific reference to a health topic in the Kenyan science curriculum. In addition, the findings add to the literature in the Science, Technology, Society, and Environment (STSE) approach to science education, and cross-cultural and global science education. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: 172,193, 2006 [source]

Globalisation and science education: Rethinking science education reforms

Lyn Carter
Like Lemke (J Res Sci Teach 38:296,316, 2001), I believe that science education has not looked enough at the impact of the changing theoretical and global landscape by which it is produced and shaped. Lemke makes a sound argument for science education to look beyond its own discourses toward those like cultural studies and politics, and to which I would add globalisation theory and relevant educational studies. Hence, in this study I draw together a range of investigations to argue that globalisation is indeed implicated in the discourses of science education, even if it remains underacknowledged and undertheorized. Establishing this relationship is important because it provides different frames of reference from which to investigate many of science education's current concerns, including those new forces that now have a direct impact on science classrooms. For example, one important question to investigate is the degree to which current science education improvement discourses are the consequences of quality research into science teaching and learning, or represent national and local responses to global economic restructuring and the imperatives of the supranational institutions that are largely beyond the control of science education. Developing globalisation as a theoretical construct to help formulate new questions and methods to examine these questions can provide science education with opportunities to expand the conceptual and analytical frameworks of much of its present and future scholarship. 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Promoting fourth graders' conceptual change of their understanding of electric current via multiple analogies

Mei-Hung Chiu
For the past two decades, a growing amount of research has shown that the use of analogies in science teaching and learning promotes meaningful understanding of complex scientific concepts (Gentner, 1983; Glynn, 1989; Harrison & Treagust, 1993; Wong, 1993). This article presents a study in which multiple analogies were used as scaffolding to link students' prior understanding of daily life events to knowledge of the scientific domain. The study was designed to investigate how multiple analogies influence student learning of a complex scientific concept: the electric circuit. We used several analogies in a set of learning materials to present the concepts of parallel and series circuits. Thirty-two fourth graders participated in this study and were randomly assigned to four groups. The four groups were named nonanalogy (control), single analogy, similar analogies, and complementary analogies, according to the materials they used in this study. The results demonstrated that using analogies not only promoted profound understanding of complex scientific concepts (such as electricity), but it also helped students overcome their misconceptions of these concepts. In particular, we found that the reason the students had difficulty understanding the concept of electricity was because of their ontological presupposition of the concept. Implications for teaching and learning are discussed. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 429,464, 2005 [source]

Substantive-level theory of highly regarded secondary biology teachers' science teaching orientations

Patricia Meis Friedrichsen
Science teaching orientations, defined as teachers' knowledge and beliefs about the purposes and goals for teaching science, have been identified as a critical component within the proposed pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) model for science teaching. Because of the scarcity of empirical studies in this area, this case study examined the nature and sources of science teaching orientations held by four highly regarded secondary biology teachers. Data sources consisted of transcripts from four interviews, a card-sorting task, and classroom observations. Using a grounded theory framework, inductive data analysis led to the construction of a substantive-level theory for this group of participants. In regard to the nature of science teaching orientations, the use of central and peripheral goals, as well as the means of achieving these goals, was used to represent the complex nature of participants' science teaching orientations. The participants' science teaching orientations included goals related to general schooling, the affective domain, and subject matter, although the latter was not always a central component. In regard to the sources of teaching orientations, participants were strongly influenced by the classroom context and their beliefs about learners and learning; additional influences included prior work experiences, professional development, and time constraints. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 218,244, 2005 [source]

A case study of one school system's adoption and implementation of an elementary science program

Michael P. Kelly
In this investigation we employed a case study approach with qualitative and quantitative data sources to examine and discover the characteristics of the processes used by a midwestern U.S. school system to adopt and implement a new K,6 science curriculum. Analysis of data yielded several results. Elementary teachers received what they requested, a hands-on science program with texts and kits. Teachers as a group remained in the early stages of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model profile of concerns. Many K,6 teachers remained uncomfortable with teaching science. Teachers' attitudes regarding the new program were positive, and they taught more science. Teachers struggled with science-as-inquiry, with a science program they believe contained too many concepts and too much vocabulary, and with their beliefs that students learned more and loved the new hands-on program. Traditional science teaching remained the norm. Administrative support was positive but insufficient to facilitate full implementation of the new program and more substantial change in teaching. Standardized science achievement test scores did not show an observable pattern of growth. It is concluded that a systematic, ongoing program of professional development is necessary to address teachers' concerns and help the district realize its goal of standards-based K,6 science instruction. 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 25,52, 2005 [source]

An investigation of experienced secondary science teachers' beliefs about inquiry: An examination of competing belief sets

Carolyn S. Wallace
The purpose of this study was to investigate the beliefs of six experienced high school science teachers about (1) what is successful science learning; (2) what are the purposes of laboratory in science teaching; and (3) how inquiry is implemented in the classroom. An interpretive multiple case study with an ethnographic orientation was used. The teachers' beliefs about successful science learning were substantively linked to their beliefs about laboratory and inquiry implementation. For example, two teachers who believed that successful science learning was deep conceptual understanding, used verification labs primarily to illustrate these concepts and used inquiry as a type of isolated problem-solving experience. Another teacher who believed that successful science learning was enculturation into scientific practices used inquiry-based labs extensively to teach the practices of science. Tension in competing beliefs sets and implications for reform are discussed. ? 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 936-960, 2004. [source]

A cultural perspective of the induction of five reform-minded beginning mathematics and science teachers

J. Randy McGinnis
The purpose of this empirical study was to present a detailed description and interpretation of what happens in schools to beginning teachers who are prepared to enact reform-based practices in mathematics and science. The focus was on a select sample of graduates from the Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation [MCTP], a statewide reform-based undergraduate teacher preparation program funded by the National Science Foundation. Interpretative research methodology was used to conduct a cultural case study of the beginning teachers' first 2 years of practice (first year, N,=,5; second year, N,=,3). We documented differential experiences and perceptions of the beginning teachers from both inside (emic) and outside (etic) perspectives. Documented discussion centered on an analytical framework suggested elsewhere. Findings were framed in two components: the individual's intentions, needs, and capabilities; and the institutional demands, affordances, and constraints. The major insight was that the beginning teachers' perception of their school culture was a major factor in whether reform-aligned mathematics and science teaching was regularly implemented by the beginning teachers. In instances where the beginning teachers' perceived that their school cultures offered a lack of support for their intent to implement reform-based practices the beginning teachers exhibited differing social strategies (resistance, moving on, and exit). Therefore, to sustain reform (and, by extension, to retain beginning mathematics and science teachers), a key implication is to place additional attention on the use of the school culture perspective to improve teacher preparation and induction experiences. 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 720,747, 2004 [source]

Learning to teach physics through inquiry: The lived experience of a graduate teaching assistant

Mark J. Volkmann
This investigation examines the difficulties encountered by one graduate teaching assistant as she taught Physics for Elementary Education, a large-enrollment, inquiry-based science course taught at a public Midwestern university. The methodological approach of hermeneutic phenomenology served as the lens to investigate the research question, "What is the lived experience of a graduate teaching assistant as she learned to teach physics through inquiry to elementary education students?" We summarize the findings in terms of the blending of two conceptual frameworks: orientations to science teaching and professional identity. We learned that fundamental beliefs about the nature of science support certain orientations, and if those beliefs remain unchallenged, then the orientation is unlikely to change. Finally, we discuss implications for strategies that may assist college-level instructors with changing their orientation to teaching science. 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 584,602, 2004 [source]

Constructing views of science tied to issues of equity and diversity: A study of beginning science teachers

Julie A. Bianchini
In this study, we examined the discursive and social practices of a teacher educator (the first author) and her eight beginning science teachers in a course on the nature of science and issues of equity and diversity. We focused our investigation on beginning science teachers' views of science and science teaching, as well as the grounds they offered for their views. We organized our discussion of the nature of science, teacher learning, and grounds for views along three dimensions: personal, social, and political. We found that beginning teachers routinely drew from only one of these three dimensions to support their views of the nature of science and ways to represent science to all students. In our implications, we recommend that teacher educators encourage teacher learners to examine personal, social, and political grounds carefully and critically in the process of constructing or revising their views. We argue that attention to these three dimensions of grounds for views will assist beginning teachers in adopting nature of science positions that are broad and complex, that more clearly reflect the goals of equity and excellence, and thus, that hold greater promise for achieving a science education inclusive of all students. 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 40: 53,76, 2003 [source]

Investing in the renewal of urban science teaching

Michael S. Knapp
This article provides a conceptual framework for understanding what is involved in improving urban science teaching and what might be implied by conducting research on its improvement. It is argued in this article that three sets of forces and conditions have a direct impact on urban science classrooms: first, the array of interdependent policies at school, district, and state levels about science teaching in particular and about education improvement more broadly construed; next, the investment and use of instructionally relevant resources at each of the three levels and their differing impacts on the renewal of urban science teaching; and finally, the broader context in which urban science teaching occurs mediating how these resources are,or can be,used. Mediating factors include the professional peer community, subject-specific instructional leadership, the professional development infrastructure, the supply of available science teachers, and the broader community context. The article concludes with suggestions for how this framework informs directions for future research on the promise and limits of efforts to renew science teaching in urban settings. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 1089,1100, 2001 [source]

Comparing the epistemological underpinnings of students' and scientists' reasoning about conclusions

Kathleen Hogan
This study examined the criteria that middle school students, nonscientist adults, technicians, and scientists used to rate the validity of conclusions drawn by hypothetical students from a set of evidence. The groups' criteria for evaluating conclusions were considered to be dimensions of their epistemological frameworks regarding how knowledge claims are justified, and as such are integral to their scientific reasoning. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that the responses of students and nonscientists differed from the responses of technicians and scientists, with the major difference being the groups' relative emphasis on criteria of empirical consistency or plausibility of the conclusions. We argue that the sources of the groups' differing epistemic criteria rest in their different spheres of cultural practice, and explore implications of this perspective for science teaching and learning. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 663,687, 2001 [source]

Case-based pedagogy as a context for collaborative inquiry in the Philippines

Elvira L. Arellano
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for using case-based pedagogy as a context for collaborative inquiry into the teaching and learning of elementary science. The context for this study was the elementary science teacher preparation program at West Visayas State University on the the island of Panay in Iloilo City, the Philippines. In this context, triple linguistic conventions involving the interactions of the local Ilonggo dialect, the national language of Philipino (predominantly Tagalog) and English create unique challenges for science teachers. Participants in the study included six elementary student teachers, their respective critic teachers and a research team composed of four Filipino and two U.S. science teacher educators. Two teacher-generated case narratives serve as the centerpiece for deliberation, around which we highlight key tensions that reflect both the struggles and positive aspects of teacher learning that took place. Theoretical perspectives drawn from assumptions underlying the use of case-based pedagogy and scholarship surrounding the community metaphor as a referent for science education curriculum inquiry influenced our understanding of tensions at the intersection of re-presentation of science, authority of knowledge, and professional practice, at the intersection of not shared language, explicit moral codes, and indigenization, and at the intersection of identity and dilemmas in science teaching. Implications of this study are discussed with respect to the building of science teacher learning communities in both local and global contexts of reform. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 502,528, 2001 [source]

Student views on the effective teaching of physical examination skills: a qualitative study

Merel J C Martens
Objectives, The lack of published studies into effective skills teaching in clinical skills centres inspired this study of student views of the teaching behaviours of skills teachers. Methods, We organised focus group discussions with students from Years 1,3 of a 6-year undergraduate medical curriculum. A total of 30 randomly selected students, divided into three groups, took part in two sessions. They discussed what teaching skills helped them to acquire physical examination skills. Results, Students' opinions related to didactic skills, interpersonal and communication skills and preconditions. Students appreciated didactic skills that stimulate deep and active learning. Another significant set of findings referred to teachers' attitudes towards students. Students wanted teachers to be considerate and to take them seriously. This was reflected in student descriptions of positive behaviours, such as: ,responding to students' questions'; ,not exposing students' weaknesses in front of the group', and ,[not] putting students in an embarrassing position in skill demonstrations'. They also appreciated enthusiasm in teachers. Important preconditions included: the integration of skills training with basic science teaching; linking of skills training to clinical practice; the presence of clear goals and well-structured sessions; good time management; consistency of teaching, and the appropriate personal appearance of teachers and students. Conclusions, The teaching skills and behaviours that most facilitate student acquisition of physical examination skills are interpersonal and communication skills, followed by a number of didactic interventions, embedded in several preconditions. Findings related to interpersonal and communication skills are comparable with findings pertaining to the teaching roles of tutors and clinical teachers; however, the didactic skills merit separate attention as teaching skills for use in skills laboratories. The results of this study should be complemented by a study performed in a larger population and a study exploring teachers' views. [source]

Reduced undergraduate medical science teaching is detrimental for basic surgical training

Stephen J. Hanna
No abstract is available for this article. [source]