In this study, the effects of an explicit reflective intervention on Swaziland elementary preservice
teachers’ understanding of the Nature of Science (NOS) were investigated. The factors
that had an impact on the development of participants’ NOS views were also investigated. The
intervention made use of de-contextualized and contextualized activities as well as historical
narratives as contexts for reflecting about the empirical, creative, subjective as well as the
tentative NOS. The intervention included a discussion of the relationships and differences
between observations and inferences as well as scientific laws and theories in the context of the
aforementioned learning activities. Participants were 24 elementary pre-service teachers enrolled for their final year of their three
year teacher development programme. An adapted version of the Views of Nature of Science
Questionnaire-Form C (VNOS-C) was used in conjunction with individual interviews, to assess
the participants’ understanding of NOS at the beginning and conclusion of the intervention. At
the end of the programme, data from interviews, concept maps and reflective journals of seven
participants were analysed to ascertain their perceptions of the elements of the course and other
factors that had an impact on their development of more informed NOS views. These
participants were selected on the basis of their differential gains in NOS understanding.
The data that was analysed using both qualitative and quantitative techniques revealed that the
intervention brought about significant gains in some participants’ understanding of NOS.
Information obtained from the document analysis of journals and concept maps as well as exit
interviews of the selected group revealed that the pre-service teachers’ development of more
informed views was mediated by motivational and cognitive factors. These were the
participants’ perception of the value of teaching and learning NOS, their views about teaching
and learning science, and their ability to engage deeply with the NOS concepts as well as their
epistemic beliefs. The explicit reflective attention to NOS as well as metacognitive strategies
was reported by most of the selected participants as responsible for changes in their NOS views.
Du Plessis, Paulina Carolina(University of Pretoria, 2007-11-12)
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