Teachers' Conceptions of the Nature of Science: Analyzing the Impact of a Teacher Enhancement Program in Changing Attitudes and Perceptions of Science and Scientific Research
"The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a residential science research experience in changing participants' attitudes and understanding of the nature of science and their view of themselves as science researchers. Data from interviews, journal writings, classroom observations and two pre-post instruments were used in the evaluation plan.
As participants of this study, 16 inservice teachers (K- 16) attended a two-week residential institute at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, West Virginia. The format of the institute featured a scientific research experience designed to arm its participants with the skills needed to model their classroom teaching after scientific research. The program included lessons on the fundamentals of radio astronomy, science talks and interactions with practicing scientists, in-depth tours of the NRAO facilities, and pedagogical instruction for implementing research in the classroom. The WVU College of Education staff and the NRAO staff stressed the importance of the nature of the research experience offered to these teachers. In the Education Sessions the WVU science education staff guided participants through the steps required to turn their experience around, in order to develop student research projects for their classrooms.
The results from the Research Self Assessment instrument show significant gains for all participants in being more comfortable doing research. For the Nature of Science and Science Teaching instrument there were only three items that showed significant gains for all participants both in understanding the nature of science and in their views on implementing the Green Bank constructivist learning philosophy.
The women, especially the elementary teacher group, showed the greatest change in their understanding of the nature of science as reflected in the interviews as well as in their personal journals. The seven men, who were all in the secondary field, made no significant gains in this area. Their definition of the nature of science was clearly defined as a postpositivist or contemporary view (Palmquist and Finley, 1997) from the beginning. Of the 14 teachers who were observed implementing student research projects in their classrooms, nine of the participants came close to representing the Green Bank model."
Govett, A. L. (2001). Teachers' Conceptions of the Nature of Science: Analyzing the Impact of a Teacher Enhancement Program in Changing Attitudes and Perceptions of Science and Scientific Research. Education Doctorate Thesis. West Virginia University
Type of Publication
Govett, Aimee L.
West Virginia University
College of Human Resources and Education, Department of Educational Theory and Practice
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America