The Impact of Full Immersion Scientific Research Experiences on Teachers’ Views of the Nature of Science

Renee’ S. Schwartz, Julie F. Westerlund, Dana M. García, Teresa A. Taylor

Abstract


This study examined secondary science teachers' conceptions of the nature of science after full immersion authentic scientific research experiences that included explicit nature of science instruction as compared to teachers' in full immersion research experiences that did not have explicit nature of science instruction. For 8 weeks in the summer, 19 teachers in Trial A (non-explicit) and 21 teachers in Trial B (explicit) were paired with research scientists and lived on campus in order to participate fully in scientific research.  In Trial B, teachers met weekly for a 2-hour group session with activities to explicitly address the nature of science. Data included pre/post internship Views of the Nature of Science (VNOS-C) questionnaires, interviews, and videotapes of group sessions.  In contrast to the minimal advances made by teachers in understanding the nature of science in the non-explicit group (Trial A), the Trial B teachers made substantial gains in understanding the nature of science.  However, the Trial B teachers' perceptions of the nature of science were still ambiguous in specific aspects of the nature of science. The explicit nature of science instruction in Trail B was (1) effective in initiating positive shifts in teachers' understanding of nature of science, but (2) limited in reflection opportunities for teachers to challenge their nature of science understanding in the context of authentic science research experiences.


Keywords


Nature of Science, Immersion Scientific Research Experiences for Teachers

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