An investigation of Zimbabwe high school chemistry students' laboratory work–based images of the nature of science

Authors


Abstract

This study investigates the proximal and distal images of the nature of science (NOS) that A-level students develop from their participation in chemistry laboratory work. We also explored the nature of the interactions among the students' proximal and distal images of the NOS and students' participation in laboratory work. Students' views of the NOS and the nature of their chemistry laboratory work were elicited through students' responses to an open-ended questionnaire and semistructured interviews. The results suggest that students build some understandings of the NOS from their participation in laboratory work. Students' proximal NOS understandings appear to build into and interact with their understandings of the nature and practice of professional science. This interaction appears to be mediated by the nature of instruction. It is posited that each student's conceptual ecological system is replete with interactions, which govern attenuation of proximal understandings into distal images. Methodologically, the study illustrates how students' laboratory work–based proximal and distal images of the NOS can be identified and extracted through analyzing and interpreting their responses to protocols. Implications for A-level Chemistry instruction and curriculum development are raised. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: 127–149, 2006

Ancillary