Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 39–62 | Cite as

The Conceptions of In-service and Prospective Primary School Teachers About the Teaching and Learning of Science

  • Raphael Porlán
  • Rosa Martín del Pozo


A study was performed to describe and analyze the conceptions about teaching and learning science held by different samples of teachers in Spain. The responses of 265 teachers (107 prospective teachers and 158 active teachers) to items from the Inventory of Scientific and Pedagogical Beliefs (Porlán, 1989) were subjected to multifactorial analysis. The results showed various tendencies in how the teaching/learning process is viewed, ranging from a predominant view based on the transmission-reception of knowledge to a minority constructivist view. There was a greater diversity of viewpoints among the in-service teachers than among the prospective teachers. In both samples, the most representative tendency was learning as appropriation of meanings, followed by a technical view of teaching among the prospective teachers and a more traditional view among the in-service teachers. Finally, some implications for teacher education are discussed.


Primary School Teacher Education School Teacher Prospective Teacher Learning Science 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aguirre, J.M., & Haggerty, S.M. (1995). Preservice teachers' meanings of learning. International Journal of Science Education, 17, 119–131.Google Scholar
  2. Aguirre, J. M., Haggerty, S. M., & Linder, C. J. (1990). Student-teachers' conceptions of science, teaching and learning: a case study in preservice science education. International Journal of Science Education, 12, 381–390.Google Scholar
  3. Bachelard, G. (1938). La formation de l'esprit scientifique [The formation of the scientific spirit]. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  4. Billeh, V. Y., & Malik, M. H. (1977). Development and application of a test on understanding the nature of science. Science Education, 61, 559–571.Google Scholar
  5. Bramald, R., Hardman, F., & Leat, D. (1995). Initial teacher trainees and their views of teaching and learning. Teaching & Teacher Education, 11, 23–31.Google Scholar
  6. Claxton, G. (1984). Live and learn: An introduction to the psychology of growth and change in everyday life. London: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  7. Cronin-Jones, L. (1991). Science teacher beliefs and their influence on curriculum implementation: two case studies. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 235–250.Google Scholar
  8. Cuadras, C. M. (1981). Métodos de análisis multivariante. Barcelona, Spain: Eunibar.Google Scholar
  9. Flores, F., López, A., Gallegos, L., & Barojas, J. (2000). Transforming science and learning concepts of physics teachers. International Journal of Science Education, 22, 197–208.Google Scholar
  10. Gallagher, J.J. (1993). Six views of teaching science: An invitation to reflection and discussion. East Lansing: Michigan State University, College of Education, National Center for Research on Teacher Learning.Google Scholar
  11. Gustafson, B.J., & Rowell, P.M. (1995): Elementary preservice teachers: constructing conceptions about learning science, teaching science and the nature of science. International Journal of Science Education, 17, 589–605.Google Scholar
  12. Hashweh, M. Z. (1996). Effects of science teachers' epistemological beliefs in teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33, 47–63.Google Scholar
  13. Hewson, P. W., & Hewson, M. G. (1987). Science teachers' conceptions of teaching: implications for teachers education. International Journal of Science Education, 9, 425–440.Google Scholar
  14. Hollon, R. E., & Anderson, Ch. W. (1987). Teachers' beliefs about students' learning processes in science: self-reinforcing belief systems. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  15. Hollon, R. E., Roth, K. J., & Anderson, Ch. W. (1991). Science teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning. Advances in Research on Teaching, 2, 145–185.Google Scholar
  16. Joram, E., & Gabriele, A. J. (1998). Preservice teachers' prior beliefs: transforming obstacles into opportunities. Teaching & Teacher Education, 14, 175–191.Google Scholar
  17. Kennedy, M. (1991). An agenda for research on teacher learning. East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, Special Reports.Google Scholar
  18. Kouladis, V., & Ogborn, J. (1989): Philosophy of science: an empirical study of teachers' views. International Journal of Science Education, 11, 173–184.Google Scholar
  19. Kouladis, V., & Ogborn, J. (1995). Science teachers' philosophical assumptions: How well do we understand them? International Journal of Science Education, 17, 273–283.Google Scholar
  20. Lederman, N. G. (1992). Students' and teachers' conceptions of the nature of science: a review of the research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29, 331–359.Google Scholar
  21. Martín del Pozo, R. (2001). Prospective teachers' ideas about the relationships between concepts describing the composition of matter. International Journal of Science Education, 23, 353–371.Google Scholar
  22. Martín del Pozo, R., & Porlán, R. (2001). Spanish prospective teachers' initial ideas about teaching chemical change. Chemistry Education Research and Practice in Europe. 2, 265–283.Google Scholar
  23. Martínez, M., Martín del Pozo, R., Rodrigo, M., Varela, P., Fernández, P., & Guerrero, A. (2001). ¿Qué pensamiento profesional y curricular tienen los futuros profesores de Ciencias de Secundaria? [What professional and curricular conceptions do preservice secondary teachers have on science?] Enseñanza de las Ciencias, 19, 67–87.Google Scholar
  24. Martínez, M., Martín del Pozo, R., Rodrigo, M., Varela, P., Fernández, P., & Guerrero, A. (2002). Un estudio comparativo sobre el pensamiento profesional y la acción docente de los profesores de Ciencias de Educación Secundaria. Parte II [A comparative study about the professional thinking and the teaching practice of the sciences of secondary teachers]. Enseñanza de las Ciencias, 20, 243–260.Google Scholar
  25. Marrero, J. (1993). Las teoría implícitas del profesorado: vínculo entre la cultura y la práctica de la enseñanza [The implicit theories of the teachers: The link between culture and teaching practice]. In M. J. Rodrigo, A. Rodríguez, & J. Marrero (Eds.), Las teorías implícitas. Una aproximación al conocimiento cotidiano [The implicit theories. An approximation to the current knowledge] (pp. 243–276). Madrid, Spain: Visor.Google Scholar
  26. Mellado, V. (1998). The classroom practice of preservice teachers and their conceptions of teaching and learning science. Science Education, 82, 197–214.Google Scholar
  27. Munby, H. (1983). Thirty studies involving the “Scientific Attitude Inventory”: What confidence can we have in this instrument? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 20, 141–162.Google Scholar
  28. Orlandi, E. (1991). Conceptions des enseignants sur la démarche expérimentale. Analyse de quelques cas à propos de digestion en classe de troisième [Teachers' conceptions on the experimental process: Analysis of some cases about the digestion at the third level class]. Aster, 13, 11–132.Google Scholar
  29. Pérez Gómez, A. I., & Gimeno, J. (1992). El pensamiento pedagógico de los profesores: un-estudio empírico sobre la incidencia de los cursos de aptitud pedagógica (CAP) y de la experiencia profesional en el pensamiento de los profesores [The pedagogical conceptions of the teachers: An empirical study about the influence on the teacher conceptions of both the pedagogical training courses and the professional practice]. Investigación en la Escuela, 17, 51–73.Google Scholar
  30. Pomeroy, D. (1993). Implications of teachers' beliefs about the nature of science:Comparison of the beliefs of scientists, secondary science teachers, and elementary teachers. Science Education, 77, 261–278.Google Scholar
  31. Pope, M., & Gilbert, J. (1983). Personal experience and the construction of knowledge in science. Science Education, 67, 193–203.Google Scholar
  32. Porlán, R. (1989). Teoría del conocimiento, teoría de la enseñanza y desarrollo profesional. Las concepciones epistemológicas de los profesores [Knowledge theory, teaching theory, and professional development. The epistemological conceptions of the teachers.. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.Google Scholar
  33. Porlán, R. (1993). Constructivismo y escuela [Constructivism and school]. Sevilla, Spain: Díada.Google Scholar
  34. Porlán, R., & López, J. I. (1993). Constructivismo en Ciencias: pensamiento del alumnado versus pensamiento del profesorado [Constructivism on science: Student conceptions versus teacher conceptions]. Qurriculum, 6–7, 91–107.Google Scholar
  35. Porlán, R., & Martín del Pozo, R. (1996). Ciencia, Profesores y Enseñanza: unas relaciones complejas [Science, teacher and teaching: A complex relationship]. Alambique, 8, 23–32.Google Scholar
  36. Porlán, R., Martín del Pozo, R., & Martín Toscano, J. (2002). Conceptions of school-based teacher educators concerning ongoing teacher education. Teaching & Teacher Education. 18, 305–321.Google Scholar
  37. Porlán, R., & Rivero, A. (1998). El conocimiento de los profesores [The teacher knowledge]. Sevilla, Spain: Díada.Google Scholar
  38. Prawat, R. S. (1992). Teachers' beliefs about teaching and learning: a constructivist perspective. American Journal of Education, 100, 354–395.Google Scholar
  39. Sánchez, G., & Valcárcel, M. V. (1999). Science teachers' views and practices in planning for teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 493–513.Google Scholar
  40. Smith, D., & Neale, D. (1991). The construction of subject-matter knowledge in primary science teaching. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching. Vol. 2 (pp. 187–243). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  41. Solís, E., & Porlán, R. (2003). Las concepciones del profesorado de Ciencias de Secundaria en formación inicial ¿obstáculo o punto de partida [Beliefs of the preservice science secondary teachers: An obstacle or a departure point?]. Investigación en la Escuela, 49, 5–22.Google Scholar
  42. Southerland, A. S., & Gess-Newsome, J. (1999). Preservice teachers' views of inclusive science teaching as shaped by images of teaching, learning, and knowledge. Science Education, 83, 131–150.Google Scholar
  43. Strike, K., Gertzog, W., Hewson, P., Hoagland, G., Nussbaum, I., & Posner, G. (1981). The Cornell Assessment of Scientific Beliefs (CASB): A Report on questionnaire development.. New York: Cornell University, Department of Education, Series Research Report No. 10.Google Scholar
  44. Wodlinger, M. G. (1985). Entry beliefs of first-year preservice teachers. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 31, 54–69.Google Scholar
  45. Young, R. E. (1981). A study of teachers epistemologies. The Australian Journal of Education, 25, 144–194.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael Porlán
    • 1
  • Rosa Martín del Pozo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Science EducationUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Department of Science EducationUniversidad Complutense MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations