Preservice Teachers' Views of the Nature of Science during a Postbaccalaureate Science Teaching Program

Bruce C. Palmquist, Fred N. Finley

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The goals of this study were to determine preservice science teachers' views of the nature of science and to describe the changes in those views that occur during a teacher education program. Fifteen students in a postbaccalaureate secondary science teaching program at a large university participated in this study. The participants' views of science were ascertained by an investigator-developed survey and a follow-up interview administered before and after the university's science teaching methods sequence. Before entering the teaching program, the participants had a contemporary (i.e., postpositivist) view of scientific theory, knowledge, and the role of a scientist and a traditional (i.e., empiricist or positivist) view of scientific method. Initially, there was an equal number of traditional, mixed, and contemporary views of the different aspects of science. After completing the methods sequence, the number of contemporary views doubled and the number of mixed views decreased by more than half. The number of participants with an overall contemporary view of science rose from 2 to 7. Since there was little direct instruction about the nature of science, it is possible to make positive changes in preservice teachers' views of the nature of science in a teaching program in which contemporary teaching strategies such as conceptual change and cooperative learning are taught.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-615
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1997


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