The Analysis of the Understanding Levels of Teacher Candidates in Different Departments about Basic Astronomy Concepts
Learners face a variety of concepts during the instructional process they experience. These concepts are mostly introduced by teachers; thus, the competences of teachers in terms of teaching concepts are vitally important. The aim of this study is to detect the understanding levels of teacher candidates about basic astronomy concepts. The method of the study was a survey method. The sample of the study was composed of 293 teacher candidates from early childhood teacher education, primary school teacher education, elementary science education and physics education departments. The data were collected by the achievement test, which included three questions intended to help describe, draw and explain the movement. The data were analysed by using the two different understanding levels in the literature. The data obtained showed that the teacher candidates could not submit proper explanations for the concepts: the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, planets, stars and satellites. This situation can be interpreted as an indicator that teacher candidates did not have enough information about the basic astronomy concepts. When the departments were compared with respect to the understanding levels, it can be said that teacher candidates from elementary science teacher education and physics teacher education departments were at a better level of understanding than their counterparts in early childhood teacher education and elementary teacher education departments. We must ensure that candidates are aware of their deficiencies and for these deficiencies to be eliminated we present various opportunities about astronomy activities like finding the Sun and a star using Stellarium program for the candidates to help develop themselves.