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Keywords:

  • epistemology;
  • Nature of Science (NOS);
  • early childhood;
  • undergraduate

Abstract

This study tracked the influence of explicit reflective instructional methods on cultural values, ethical and intellectual development, and the relationship of these with preservice teachers' views of nature of science (NOS). The researchers used the Views of Nature of Science Form B (VNOS B) to describe NOS views, the Learning Context Questionnaire (LCQ) to classify preservice teachers' ethical and intellectual positions using Perry's scheme, and the Schwartz Values Inventory (SVI) to measure preservice teachers' cultural values. The interventions took place in two concurrent courses: a science methods course, and a foundations of early childhood course. The science methods course explicitly emphasized NOS throughout the semester, and the foundations of early childhood course reinforced these ideas through cultural activities that stressed empirical evidence. Analysis of data showed relationships between preservice teachers' Perry positions and responses on the VNOS B with those at higher positions exhibiting more informed NOS views. Relationships between preservice teachers' NOS views and their cultural values were identified, such as those at the dualism position holding achievement more highly for scientists than those at other Perry positions. The values preservice teachers held personally were different from those they held as important for scientists. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 748–770, 2008