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Nature of Science in the Science Curriculum: Origin, Development, Implications and Shifting Emphases

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International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching

Abstract

This chapter briefly traces the history of nature of science (NOS) orientations in science education, notes some differences in the way NOS is defined and in arguments used to justify its inclusion in the school science curriculum and acknowledges the centrality of NOS to recent curriculum and research initiatives based on scientific argumentation, modelling and consideration of socioscientific issues (SSI). Some critical scrutiny is directed towards the so-called consensus view of NOS and whether it adequately and appropriately represents the diversity of approach across the different subdisciplines of science. Of course, serious consideration of curriculum initiatives inevitably leads to questions concerning assessment policy and practice. Key issues relate to the philosophical adequacy and psychometric robustness of questionnaires, interviews, observation studies and approaches utilizing students’ drawings and stories and how best to record and report findings. After a brief discussion of some important pedagogical matters and consideration of some contemporary emphases in NOS-oriented curricula, including SSI-oriented teaching and efforts to shift attention towards a more authentic view of contemporary scientific practice (what Ziman (2000). Real science: What it is, and what it means. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. calls post-academic science), the chapter concludes with a piece of personal self-indulgence: advocacy of a move towards an action-oriented, SSI-based approach to science education at the school level, and beyond.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Abd-El-Khalick (2001, 2004, 2005), Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson (2004, 2009), Abd-El-Khalick et al. (1998, 2008), Bell (2004), Flick and Lederman (2004), Hanuscin et al. (2006), Khishfe and Abd-El-Khalick (2002), Khishfe and Lederman (2006, 2007), Lederman (2006, 2007), Lederman and Abd-El-Khalick (1998), Lederman et al. (2001, 2002).

  2. 2.

    Allchin (2011), Bartholomew et al. (2004), Clough (2006, 2011), Clough and Olson (2008), Elby and Hammer (2001), Hodson (2008, 2009, 2011), Kelly (2008), Matthews (2012), Osborne et al. (2003), Rudolph (2000), van Dijk (2011), and Wong and Hodson (2009, 2010).

  3. 3.

    See Brock (1973), Jenkins (1979), Layton (1973) and van Praagh (1973).

  4. 4.

    For example, early on in the original Nuffield Physics course, students are provided with a lever, a fulcrum and some weights (uniform square metal plates) and are invited to ‘explore’ and to ‘find out what you can’. No particular problem is stated; no procedure is recommended. It is assumed that the Law of Moments will simply emerge from undirected, open-ended exploration. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, the system does not balance in the way the students expect because the pivot is below the centre of gravity. If the weights are suspended below the pivot, as in a set of scales, the beam will balance. However, there is little chance that children will discover this for themselves. Second, children tend to spread the weights irregularly along the entire length of the beam. The complexity of this arrangement obscures the simple relationship that is sought. Consequently, teachers begin to proffer advice on how to make the problem simpler and to issue instructions about the best way to proceed. Similar things happen whenever children are presented with this kind of open-ended situation. See Hodson (1996) for an extended discussion of these issues.

  5. 5.

    See, for example, Cawthron and Rowell (1978), Hodson (1985, 1986, 1988a, b, 1990, 1991), Matthews (1991, 1992), Nadeau and Désautels (1984)) and Royal Society (1985).

  6. 6.

    Extensive discussion of the history and evolving definition of scientific literacy can be found in Bybee (1997a, b); Choi et al. (2011), De Boer (2001), Dillon (2009), Feinstein (2011), Gräber and Bolte (1997), Hodson (2008, 2011), Hurd (1998), Laugksch (2000), Lehrer and Schauble (2006), Lemke (2004), Linder et al. (2012), McEneaney (2003), Miller (2000), Norris and Phillips (2003), Norris et al. (2013), Oliver et al. (2001), Roberts (2007), Roth and Calabrese Barton (2004), and Ryder (2001). Teachers’ understanding of scientific literacy is explored by Smith et al. (2012).

  7. 7.

    For example, AAAS (1993), Council of Ministers of Education (1997), Department of Education (RSA) (2002), Goodrum et al. (2000), Millar and Osborne (1998), National Research Council (1996), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1999, 2003), Osborne and Dillon (2008), and UNESCO (1993).

  8. 8.

    Abd-El-Khalick (2001), Abd-El-Khalick et al. (2008), Clough (2006), Cross (1995), Knain (2001), Kosso (2009), Lakin and Wellington (1994), McComas (1998), van Eijck and Roth (2008) and Vesterinen et al. (2011).

  9. 9.

    For example, Arduriz Bravo (2013), Berland and Hammer (2012), Berland and Lee (2012), Berland and McNeill (2010), Berland and Reiser (2009, 2011), Böttcher and Meisertt (2011), Bricker and Bell (2008), Driver et al. (2000), Duschl (2008), Duschl and Osborne (2002), Erduran et al. (2004), Evagorou and Osborne (2013), Ford and Wargo (2012), Jiménez-Aleixandre and Erduran (2008), Khishfe (2012a), Kuhn (2010), Newton et al. (1999), Nielsen (2012a, b, 2013), Osborne (2001), Osborne and Patterson (2011), Osborne et al. (2004), Passmore and Svoboda (2012), Pluta et al. (2011), Sampson and Clark (2008, 2011), Sampson and Blanchard (2012), Sampson and Walker (2012), Sampson et al. (2011), Sandoval and Cam (2011), Sandoval and Millwood (2005, 2008), Simon et al. (2006), and Ryu and Sandoval (2012)

  10. 10.

    Bamberger and Davis (2013), Clement and Rea-Ramirez (2008), Coll (2006), Coll and Taylor (2005), Coll and Treagust (2002, 2003a, b), Coll et al. (2005), Davies and Gilbert (2003), Duschl and Grandy (2008), Erduran and Duschl (2004), Franco et al. (1999), Gilbert (2004), Gilbert and Boulter (1998, 2000), Gilbert et al. (1998a, b), Gobert and Pallant (2004), Gobert et al. (2011), Greca and Moreira (2000, 2002), Halloun (2004, 2007), Hansen et al. (2004), Hart (2008), Justi and Gilbert (2002a, b, c, 2003), Justi and van Driel (2005), Kawasaki et al. (2004), Khan (2007), Koponen (2007), Lehrer and Schauble (2005), Lopes and Costa (2007), Maia and Justi (2009), Manz (2012), Nelson and Davis (2012), Nersessian (2008), Oh and Oh (2011), Perkins and Grotzer (2005), Russ et al. (2008), Saari and Viiri (2003), Shen and Confrey (2007), special issue of Science & Education (2007, 16, issues 7–8), Svoboda et al. (2013), Taber (2003), Taylor et al. (2003), Treagust et al. (2002, 2004), and van Driel and Verloop (1999)

  11. 11.

    Barman (1997, 1999), Farland-Smith (2009a), Finson (2002), Fort and Varney (1989), Fralick et al. (2009), Fung (2002), Huber and Burton (1995), Jackson (1992), Losh et al. (2008), Mason et al. (1991), Matthews (1994a, 1996), Newton and Newton (1992, 1998), Rahm and Charbonneau (1997), Rosenthal (1993), She (1995, 1998), and Symington and Spurling (1990)

  12. 12.

    Chambers (1983), Farland-Smith (2009b), Finson (2002), Fung (2002), Laubach et al. (2012), Parsons (1997), She (1995, 1998), and Walls (2012)

  13. 13.

    Important literature sources include Duschl (2008), Erduran (2008), Erduran et al. (2004), Kelly and Takao (2002), Naylor et al. (2007), Osborne et al. (2004), Sampson and Clark (2006, 2008), Sandoval and Millwood (2005), Shwarz et al. (2003), Takao and Kelly (2003), and Zeidler et al. (2003).

  14. 14.

    Suitable references include Acher et al. (2007), Chittleborough et al. (2005), Coll (2006), Coll and Treagust (2003a), Duschl et al. (2007), Hart (2008a), Henze et al. (2007a, b), Justi and Gilbert (2002a), Justi and van Driel (2005), Kawasaki et al. (2004), Lehrer and Schauble (2000), Lin and Chiu (2007), Maia and Justi (2009), Perkins and Grotzer (2005), Prins et al. (2008), Raghavan et al. (1998a, b), Saari and Viiri (2003), Schauble (2008), Smith et al. (2000), Taylor et al. (2003), Treagust et al. (2002, 2004), van Driel and Verloop (1999), and Webb (1994).

  15. 15.

    Other important studies of video-based teacher professional development programmes include Borko and colleagues (2008), Rosaen and colleagues (2008), Santagata and colleagues (2007) and Zhang and colleagues (2011).

  16. 16.

    Repertory grids enable researchers to ascertain links between different facets of an individual’s knowledge and understanding (and between understanding and actions) in quantitative form (Fransella and Bannister 1977). Using them over the lifetime of a research project enables a developmental record of students’ (or teachers’) views to be built up. Because repertory grids often produce surprising data and highlight inconsistencies in respondents’ views, they provide a fruitful avenue for discussion and exploration of ideas. For these reasons, Pope and Denicolo (1993) urge researchers to use them as ‘a procedure that facilitates a conversation’ (p. 530).

  17. 17.

    Interestingly, as a percentage of the total, the modeller profile was more common among students following a 4-year science foundation course than among physics majors.

  18. 18.

    Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman (2000a, b), Abell and Smith (1994), Aikenhead and Ryan (1992), Akerson and Buzzelli (2007), Akerson and Hanuscin (2007), Akerson et al. (2008), Barman (1997), Apostolou and Koulaidis (2010), Brickhouse et al. (2002), Carey and Smith (1993), Carey et al. (1989), Chambers (1983), Dagher et al. (2004), Dogan and Abd-El-Khalick (2008), Driver et al. (1996), Duveen et al. (1993), Finson (2002, 2003), Fung (2002), Griffiths and Barman (1995), Hodson (1993), Hofer (2000), Hogan and Maglienti (2001), Honda (1994), Irez (2006), Kang et al. (2005), Koren and Bar (2009), Larochelle and Desautels (1991), Leach et al. (1996, 1997), Lederman (1992, 1999), Liu and Lederman (2002, 2007), Liu and Tsai (2008), Lubben and Millar (1996), Lunn (2002), Mbajiorgu and Iloputaife (2001), Meichtry (1992), Meyling (1997), Moseley and Norris (1999), Moss et al. (2001), Palmer and Marra (2004), Parsons (1997), Paulsen and Wells (1998), Rampal (1992), Rubin et al. (2003), Ryan (1987), Ryan and Aikenhead (1992), Ryder et al. (1999), Sandoval and Morrison (2003), Schommer and Walker (1997), She (1995, 1998), Smith and Wenk (2006), Smith et al. (2000), Solomon et al. (1994), Solomon et al. (1996), Song and Kim (1999), Sumrall (1995), Tucker-Raymond et al. (2007), Tytler and Peterson (2004), Vázquez and Manassero (1999), Vázquez et al. (2006), and Windschitl (2004)

  19. 19.

    Bell et al. (2003), Hodson (1998), and Milne (1998).

  20. 20.

    Abd-El-Khalick (2001), Abd-El-Khalick et al. (2008), Knain (2001), Kosso (2009), McComas (1998), van Eijck and Roth (2008), and Vesterinen et al. (2011).

  21. 21.

    Abd-El-Khalick (2001, 2005), Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman (2000a), Akerson and Abd-El-Khalick (2003, 2005), Akerson and Hanuscin (2007), Bell (2004), Bell et al. (2000, 2011), Faikhamta (2012), Hanuscin et al. (2006, 2011), Khishfe (2008), Khishfe and Abd-El-Khalick (2002), Lederman and Abd-El-Khalick (1998), Lin et al. (2012), Morrison et al. (2009), Posnanski (2010), Ryder (2002), Scharmann et al. (2005), Schwartz and Lederman (2002), and Schwartz et al. (2004).

  22. 22.

    Akerson and Donnelly (2010), Akerson and Volrich (2006), Akerson et al. (2000, 2010), Heap (2006), and Lucas and Roth (1996).

  23. 23.

    Akerson et al. (2000), Dass (2005), Lederman et al. (2001), Moss et al. (2001), Tairab (2001), and Zémplen (2009).

  24. 24.

    Aikenhead (2003, 2005), Barrett and Pedretti (2006), Bennett et al. (2007), Cheek (1992), Fensham (1988), Gallagher (1971), Gaskell (2001), Hurd (1997), Kumar and Chubin (2000), Lee (2010), Nashon et al. (2008), Pedretti (2003), Pedretti and Nazir (2011), Solomon and Aikenhead (1994), and Yager (1996).

  25. 25.

    While Ziman (2000) refers to contemporary scientific practice as post-academic science, Funtowicz and Ravetz (1993) call it post-normal science, and Gibbons and colleagues (1994) and Nowotny et al. (2003) use the term mode 2 science.

  26. 26.

    See also Eastwood and colleagues (2012), Ekborg and colleagues (2012), Khishfe (2012b), Lee (2012), Lee and Grace (2012), Nielsen (2012b), Robottom (2012), Sadler (2009, 2011), Sadler and Donnelly (2006), Sadler and Zeidler (2005a, b), Sadler and colleagues (2004, 2006, 2007), Schalk (2012), Tytler (2012), Wu and Tsai (2007), Zeidler and Sadler (2008a, b), Zeidler and Schafer (1984), and Zeidler and colleagues (2003, 2005, 2009).

  27. 27.

    See also Beauchamp and Childress (2008), Clarkeburn (2002), Goldfarb and Pritchard (2000), Keefer (2003), Levinson and Reiss (2003), Sadler and Zeidler (2004), Sáez et al. (2008), and Saunders and Rennie (2013).

  28. 28.

    Goleman (1985, 1996, 1998), Matthews et al. (2002), Matthews and colleagues (2004a, b), Saarni (1990, 1999), Salovey and Meyer (1990), Salovey and Shayter (1997), Steiner (1997), Sharp (2001) and Zeidner et al. (2009).

  29. 29.

    See also Alsop (2009), Alsop and colleagues (2009), Bencze and Alsop (2009), Bencze and colleagues (2009b, 2012), Bencze and Sperling (2012), Calabrese Barton and Tan (2009, 2010), Chawla (2002a, b), Hart (2008b, c), Hodson (2003, 2011, 2014), Mueller (2009), Mueller et al. (2013), Roth (2009a, b, 2010), Roth and Désautels (2002, 2004), and Santos (2008).

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Hodson, D. (2014). Nature of Science in the Science Curriculum: Origin, Development, Implications and Shifting Emphases. In: Matthews, M. (eds) International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7654-8_28

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