The Views of Nature of Science Expressed by In-Service Teachers Who were Learning History and Philosophy of Science

Young Mudavanhu, Nicholas Zezekwa

Abstract


Science teachers need an adequate understanding of the nature and processes of science as the basis for their pedagogical content knowledge for effective classroom delivery. The aim of the study was to find out in-service teachers’ views on the nature of science (NOS) and how their views compared with informed understanding of the NOS. The study adopted an exploratory case study methodology, qualitative in nature, and used convenience sampling. A questionnaire was administered to 50 in-service teachers doing a bachelor of science honours degree at a selected university in Zimbabwe. The students had done a course in history and philosophy of science where there were exposed to some topics on the NOS. Frequency counts and mean scores were used to describe views of the participants. Analysis involved comparing in-service teachers’ responses with experts’ views. The findings reveal that the students had a naïve understanding of NOS in 5 out of 16 statements from the administered questionnaire. Despite these observations the participants generally had a fair understanding of the NOS as evidenced by the fact that the participants managed to correctly respond to 69% of the questions asked. As such we infer that teaching and learning of nature of science as part of history and philosophy of science had a positive impact on in-service teachers’ views. The few instances when participants’ responses revealed contradictions, suggest that teaching and learning history and philosophy of science may not be adequate to develop a full understanding of nature of science. Further research is recommended with large samples, using a revised Views Of Nature of Science (VNOS) questionnaire and interviews, and document analysis to reveal how nature of science is taught and learnt.

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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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