In-Service Science Teachers’ Common Understanding of Nature of Science
22 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2014 Last revised: 14 Jan 2014
Date Written: 2013
Nature of science (NOS) has been underscored as a critical component of scientifical literacy. To help students attain adequate understanding of NOS; first of all, science teachers themselves must possess adequate understanding of NOS. This study aims to explore Thai in-service science teachers’ conceptions of NOS. The participants were 139 in-service science teachers from Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. A majority of the participants are primary (grades 1-6) (63.30%), secondary (grades 7-12) (20.10%), and educational extension school teachers (grades 1-9) (16.50%). The participants were responded to the View on Nature of Science (form C) questionnaire (VNOS-C). The data were read, coded, and categorized. The frequencies and percentages of each responses were counted and calculated, respectively. The results revealed these common understanding of NOS help by Thai in-service science teachers. Science is defined as a subject (35.51%), knowledge (27.54%), and process (10.14%). Science differs from other disciplines (99.32%) because it proves realities by experiments (28.77%), is a process for seeking knowledge (23.29%), and can be proven (22.60%). Scientific experiments are a process for proving realities (40.65%), testing hypotheses (37.42%), and seeking new knowledge (12.90%). Science needs experiments because experiments are a process for proving realities (40.65%), confirming knowledge (37.42%), and providing students direct experiences and deep memorization (11.72%). Scientific theories are tentative (89.60%) because of new evidences (16.80%), advancement of tools, methods, or technologies (15.20%), and the changing world (14.40%). Scientific theories differ from laws because scientific theories can be changed (25.60%) and they come from scientists’ thinking (6.40%). Scientists are confident in atomic models (66.95%) because the models come from experiments. Scientists use creativity and imagination (92.80%) during the designing experiments (39.20%), all steps (12.80%), and data collection (12.00%). Scientists provide different explanations within the same evidence because they have different ideas, beliefs, or imagination (57.25%). Science is culturally and socially influenced (62.48%) because science responds to social needs (11.20%), the advancement of science changes society and culture (10.40%), and the change of society and culture forces science to change accordingly (8.80%). These common understanding of NOS can be utilized as a basis for designing NOS-based science teacher professional development programs.
Keywords: Nature of science, In-service science teacher, Common understanding, Thailand
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