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INT. J. SCI. EDUC.,

21 JANUARY 2005, VOL. 27, NO. 1, 15–42

RESEARCH REPORT

Developing deeper understandings of nature of science: the impact of a philosophy of science course on preservice science teachers’ views and instructional planning

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL61820, USA; e-mail: fouad@uiuc.edu
This study aimed to assess the influence of a philosophy of science (POS) course on science teachers’ views of nature of science (NOS), perceptions of teaching about NOS, and instructional planning related to NOS. Participants were 56 undergraduate and graduate preservice secondary science teachers enrolled in a two sciencemethods course sequence, in whichparticipants received explicit, reflective NOS instruction. Ten of these participants were also enrolled in a graduate survey POS course. The Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire — Form C coupled with individual interviews was used to assess participants’ NOS views at the beginning and conclusion of the study. Participants’ lesson plans and NOS-specific reflection papers were analysed to assess theimpact of the POS course on their instructional planning related to, and perceptions of teaching about, NOS. Results indicated that, compared with participants enrolled in the methods courses, the POS course participants developed deeper, more coherent understandings of NOS. Substantially more of these latter participants planned explicit instructional sequences to teach about NOS. Additionally,the POS course participants’ discourse regarding NOS progressed from a preoccupation with the technical, to a concern with the practical, and, finally, to a focus on the emancipatory. Their views of teaching about NOS in their future classrooms went beyond the customary discourse of whether pre-college students should or could be taught about NOS, to contemplating changes they needed to bringabout in their own teaching behaviour and language to achieve consistency with their newly acquired NOS understandings.
Department FouadAbd-El-Khalick 0000002004 Journal 00 Taylor and Francis 2004 & Francis Ltd Research Report Ltdof Science Education Internationalof Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign1310 South Sixth StreetChampaignIL 61820USAfouad@uiuc.edu10.1080/09500690410001673810 TSED100755.sgm

Introduction The objective of helping pre-college students develop informed views of nature of science (NOS) has been a central goal for science education during the past 85 years (Abd-El-Khalick et al. 1998). Presently, this objective represents a focal and shared goal for major reform efforts in science education (for example, American Association for theAdvancement of Science [AAAS] 1990, Millar and Osborne 1998, National Research Council [NRC] 1996). However, research has consistently shown that pre-college students have not attained the desired understandings of NOS (Duschl 1990, Lederman 1992). Similarly, science teachers were found to harbour several naive NOS views (for example, Abd-El-Khalick et al. 1998, Billeh and Hasan 1975, Bloom 1989,King 1991). To mitigate this state of affairs, several attempts were undertaken to improve teachers’ NOS views (for example, Akindehin 1988, Billeh and Hasan 1975, Ogunniyi 1983, Olstad 1969, Scharmann and Harris 1992). In a comprehensive review, Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman (2000a) concluded that these efforts were generally not successful in helping teachers
International Journal of ScienceEducation ISSN 0950–0693 print/ISSN 1464–5289 online ©2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals DOI: 10.1080/09500690410001673810

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develop understandings that would enable them to effectively teach about NOS. Nonetheless, they noted that an explicit reflective approach to enhancing teachers’ conceptions (for example, Abd-El-Khalick et al. 1998,...
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