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Research in Science Education

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 329–351 | Cite as

Changing Preservice Science Teachers’ Views of Nature of Science: Why Some Conceptions May be More Easily Altered than Others

  • Gunkut MesciEmail author
  • Renee’ S. Schwartz
Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess preservice teachers’ views of Nature of Science (NOS), identify aspects that were challenging for conceptual change, and explore reasons why. This study particularly focused on why and how some concepts of NOS may be more easily altered than others. Fourteen preservice science teachers enrolled in a NOS and Science Inquiry course participated in this study. Data were collected by using a pre/post format with the Views of Nature of Science questionnaire (VNOS-270), the Views of Scientific Inquiry questionnaire (VOSI-270), follow-up interviews, and classroom artifacts. The results indicated that most students initially held naïve views about certain aspects of NOS like tentativeness and subjectivity. By the end of the semester, almost all students dramatically improved their understanding about almost all aspects of NOS. However, several students still struggled with certain aspects like the differences between scientific theory and law, tentativeness, and socio-cultural embeddedness. Results suggested that instructional, motivational, and socio-cultural factors may influence if and how students changed their views about targeted NOS aspects. Students thought that classroom activities, discussions, and readings were most helpful to improve their views about NOS. The findings from the research have the potential to translate as practical advice for teachers, science educators, and future researchers.

Keywords

Nature of science Conceptual change Preservice science teacher education Teaching nature of science 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Mallinson Institute for Science EducationWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  2. 2.Middle and Secondary EducationGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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