Turkish grade 10 students' and science teachers' conceptions of nature of science: A national study

Authors

  • Nihal Dogan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Science Education, Abant Izzet Baysal University, 14280 Golkoy/Bolu, Turkey
    • Department of Science Education, Abant Izzet Baysal University, 14280 Golkoy/Bolu, Turkey.
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  • Fouad Abd-El-Khalick

    1. Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 311 Education Building, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820
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Abstract

This study aimed to assess grade 10 Turkish students' and science teachers' conceptions of nature of science (NOS) and whether these conceptions were related to selected variables. These variables included participants' gender, geographical region, and the socioeconomic status (SES) of their city and region; teacher disciplinary background, years of teaching experience, graduate degree, and type of teacher training program; and student household SES and parents' educational level. A stratified sampling approach was used to generate a representative national sample comprising 2,087 students and 378 science teachers. After establishing their validity in the Turkish context, participants were administered a questionnaire comprising 14 modified “Views on Science-Technology-Society” (VOSTS) items to assess their views of certain aspects of NOS. A total of 2,020 students (97%) and 362 teachers (96%) completed the questionnaire. Participant responses were categorized as “naïve,” “have merit,” or “informed,” and the frequency distributions for these responses were compared for various groupings of participants. The majority of participants held naïve views of a majority of the target NOS aspects. Teacher views were mostly similar to those of their students. Teacher and student views of some NOS aspects were related to some of the target variables. These included teacher graduate degree and geographical region, and student household SES, parent education, and SES of their city and geographical region. The relationship between student NOS views and enhanced economic and educational capitals of their households, as well as the SES status of their cities and geographical regions point to significant cultural (specifically Western) and intellectual underpinnings of understandings about NOS. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 1083–1112, 2008

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