LEARNERS’ AND TEACHERS’ CONCEPTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF SCIENCE PROCESSES: THE CASE OF BOTSWANA
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The conceptual knowledge of science processes possessed by University of Botswana science students and senior secondary school science teachers was sought through a three-part questionnaire. One part requested demographic data of subjects, the second part asked them to select their level of familiarity with the processes, and the third part probed their conceptual definitions of the science processes. The definitions were scored as incorrect, partially correct and correct on an ordinal scale. Statistical analysis was done using Spearman rho correlation and one sample t test. The findings revealed that the science teachers did not have sufficient conceptual knowledge of science processes to help their students to understand in a meaningful way; both students’ and teachers’ views of their familiarity of science processes did not corroborate their demonstrated ability to provide acceptable conceptual definitions of the processes; there was no association between students’ and teachers’ conceptions of the science processes; and if conceptual knowledge of science processes was demanded, the entering students, who were the immediate graduates of the senior secondary schools, might not have enough to pursue tertiary level science courses. It is suggested that both conceptual and operational knowledge of science processes be required at secondary and tertiary levels of science education.
Key wordsconceptual knowledge of science processes science teachers undergraduate students
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