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Keywords:

  • general science;
  • professional development;
  • nature of science (NOS);
  • college/university

Abstract

To explore how elementary teachers may differ from secondary teachers in their views about NOS, a professional development experience involving explicit reflective instruction on NOS, discussions about science with scientists, and exposing the teachers to the practices, techniques, and collaborations fundamental to scientific research was designed. The goal of this professional development project was to immerse the teachers in an environment where science was going on all around them and where they could hear and discuss ideas about NOS, science concepts, and teaching science with scientists and engineers. Data on teachers' views were collected through interviews, questionnaires, reflective papers, and taped class discussions. The findings indicate that secondary teachers with previous experiences in research did not change their views of scientists or NOS; all but one of the elementary and middle school teachers improved in these areas. The factors most influential in affecting teachers' views were the one-on-one interviews teachers held with scientists, job shadowing experiences, and explicit, reflective instruction presented on the NOS. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 384–403, 2009