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Comparing Science Teaching Styles to Students' Perceptions of Scientists


Author Note: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kevin D. Finson, Department of Teacher Education, Bradley University, 1501 W. Bradley Avenu, Peoria, IL 61625.


Many educational researchers seem to concur with the idea that, among other factors, the teacher's teaching style has some impact on student learning and the perceptions students develop about science learning and the work of scientists. In this study, nine middle grades teachers' teaching styles were assessed using the Draw-a-Science-Teacher-Teaching Test Checklist (DASTT-C) and categorized along a continuum from didactic to inquiry/constructivist in orientation. Students' (n = 339) perceptions of scientists were determined using the Draw-a-Scientist-Test Checklist (DAST-C). Teachers' teaching styles and their students' perceptions of scientists were then compared using nonparametric correlational methods. Results showed that no significant correlation existed between the two measures for the population studied. Although the study provides no understanding about when or how relationships developed between teachers' teaching styles and students' perceptions of scientists, trends in the results give rise to some concerns regarding the preparation of future science teachers and the in-service development of practicing teachers.