Nature of science progression in school year 1–9: a case study of teachers’ suggestions and rationales

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Abstract

The inclusion of nature of science (NOS) in science education has for a long  time been regarded as crucial. There is, however, a lack of research on appropriate NOS aspects for different educational levels. An even more neglected area of research is that focusing on teachers’ perspectives on NOS teaching at different levels. The aim of this article is to examine NOS progression in the light of teachers’ suggestions and rationales. In order to obtain teachers’ informed perspectives, we chose to involve six teachers (teaching grades 1–9) in a 3-year research project. They took part in focus group discussions about NOS and NOS teaching as well as implemented jointly planned NOS teaching sessions. Data that this article builds on was collected at the end of the project. The teachers’ suggestions for NOS progression often relied on adding more NOS issues at every stage, thereby creating the foundations of a broader but not necessarily deeper understanding of NOS. Five rationales, for if/when specific NOS issues are appropriate to introduce, emerged from the analysis of the teacher discussions. Some of these rationales, including practice makes perfect and increasing levels of depth can potentially accommodate room for many NOS issues in the science classroom, while maturity and experience instead has a restricting effect on NOS teaching. Also, choice of context and teaching approaches play an important role in teachers’ rationales for whether specific NOS issues  should be included or not at different stages. The article discusses the implications for teacher education and professional development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-611
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Science Education
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Educational Sciences (503)

Keywords

  • NOS progression
  • NOS teaching
  • Nature of science
  • Teachers’ perspectives

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