Preservice Elementary Teachers' Images of Clay Scientists

By Rule, Audrey C.; Cavanaugh, Berislava et al. | Journal of Geoscience Education, September 2007 | Go to article overview

Preservice Elementary Teachers' Images of Clay Scientists


Rule, Audrey C., Cavanaugh, Berislava, Waloven, Valerie, Journal of Geoscience Education


ABSTRACT

The Draw-A-Scientist test, a popular projective test in use for decades, reveals the drawer's attitudes toward science. This study examined and compared images of "scientists" and "clay scientists" drawn by 87 preservice elementary teachers before and after participating in instruction about the origin of clay minerals and their uses in everyday products. Images of "scientists" shifted from stereotyped white male chemists in lab coats to an increase in persons of color and females engaged in outdoor science. "Clay scientist" images shifted from white males working indoors or outdoors with clay or ceramics to include more females, more everyday clothing, and a broader range of clay products. The effective clay science instruction included pre-instructional assessment of student ideas, small group discussions, structuring of activities, hands-on concrete materials, visuals, and connections to real life.

INTRODUCTION

Clays minerals are important components of soils and are used is a vast assortment of industrial products including ceramics of different types, paper coating and filler; as thickeners in paints, shampoos, soaps; as fillers in plastics, rubber, cement; in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals; as carriers of perfumes, fertilizers, insecticides; in drilling muds and landfill/pond liners; for filtering/ absorbing water, oils, and other liquids; and as high-tech nanocomposites and pillared clays (See Rule, 2007 or Murray, 1997 for more details).

Clay science activities provide concrete opportunities to apply concepts from national standards (Rule and Guggenheim, 2007), but most preservice elementary teachers know very little about clay's origin or uses beyond common ceramic products (Rule, 2007a). In this study, we examine preservice teachers' drawings of both "scientists" and "clay scientists" before and after lessons in a science methods course that included effective instruction about clay minerals and their use in common products, information appropriate for elementary teaching. These drawings revealed preservice teachers' attitudes toward science in general and clay science in particular, providing the opportunity to examine how these dispositions change as a result of instruction. Because teachers often pass their attitudes toward a subject on to students (Oberlin, 1982; Sovchik, 1996) or alter their teaching methods to more rote methods when they lack confidence in content area knowledge (Bursal and Paznokas, 2006), it is important to examine preservice teacher attitudes toward science and ways to improve them.

Images of Scientists - The Draw-A-Scientist projective test, which asks the test-taker to "Draw a scientist," has revealed students' mental images of scientists for over fifty years (Finson, 2002). Projective tests measure implicit needs of an individual - the motives that automatically influence behavior (McClelland et al., 1989), in contrast to self-reports, which assess self-attributed needs (explicit needs) that an individual thinks are characteristic of his or her typical functioning. Projective tests are less susceptible to self-presentation bias, gender bias, and instructor manipulation than self reports (Bornstein, 2002).

Once the scientist drawing has been produced, it may be scored for stereotyped characteristics, the most common of which are male Caucasians working indoors with chemistry equipment wearing lab coats, eyeglasses, and facial hair. Unfortunately, the more stereotypical a student's drawing of a scientist, the less likely that student is to choose to take science courses and enter a career related to science (Hammrich, 1997). In contrast, students who draw scientists of the same gender, ethnicity, and characteristics as themselves can picture (project) themselves as scientists. Such students are more likely to take educational paths leading to a career in science (National Science Teachers' Association, 1992). Happily, several studies have shown that multiple exposures to real scientists along with other interventions reduced the number of stereotyped characteristics in students' drawings (Bodzin and Gehringer, 2001; Finson, Beaver, and Cramond, 1995; Flick, 1990; Mason, Kahle, and Gardner, 1991; Smith and Erb, 1986). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Preservice Elementary Teachers' Images of Clay Scientists
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.