Research in Science Education

, 27:323 | Cite as

Primary teachers' understanding in science and its impact in the classroom

  • Wynne HarlenEmail author


Research carried out over a period of two years into primary teachers' understanding of concepts in science and technology provided information about teachers' confidence in teaching science, their understanding of a range of key ideas and their background of science in their own education. The early part of the paper describes how these data were collected, noting that the method of interviewing used to explore teachers' understanding served as an opportunity for the advancement of their understanding. The relationships among the variables of confidence, understanding and background in science are then explored. Although teachers expressed low confidence in teaching science, which was linked to a lack of understanding of scientific ideas, they also claimed not to find great difficulty in using certain teaching skills required for science, including those which would appear to demand content knowledge. This apparent anomaly is discussed and linked to the strategies used by teachers to cope with low confidence and understanding. The paper ends by considering briefly the role of content knowledge in teaching science.


Teaching Science Content Knowledge Pedagogic Content Knowledge National Curriculum Science Subject 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Scottish Council for Research in EducationEdinburghUK

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