Innovating Science Teacher Education: A History and Philosophy of Science Perspective

Innovating Science Teacher Education: A History and Philosophy of Science Perspective

Innovating Science Teacher Education: A History and Philosophy of Science Perspective

Innovating Science Teacher Education: A History and Philosophy of Science Perspective

Synopsis

How teachers view the nature of scientific knowledge is crucial to their understanding of science content and how it can be taught. This book presents an overview of the dynamics of scientific progress and its relationship to the history and philosophy of science, and then explores their methodological and educational implications and develops innovative strategies based on actual classroom practice for teaching topics such the nature of science, conceptual change, constructivism, qualitative-quantitative research, and the role of controversies, presuppositions, speculations, hypotheses, and predictions.

Field-tested in science education courses, this book is designed to involve readers in critically thinking about the history and philosophy of science and to engage science educators in learning how to progressively introduce various aspects of 'science-in-the-making' in their classrooms, to promote discussions highlighting controversial historical episodes included in the science curriculum, and to expose their students to the controversies and encourage them to support, defend or critique the different interpretations. Innovating Science Teacher Education offers guidelines to go beyond traditional textbooks, curricula, and teaching methods and innovate with respect to science teacher education and classroom teaching.

Excerpt

Research in science education has recognized the importance of history and philosophy of science (HPS). Over the last two decades there has been a worldwide sustained effort to introduce HPS in the science curriculum, textbooks and the classroom. Similarly, various reform efforts in different parts of the world have recognized the importance of presenting science to the students within an HPS perspective (e.g., Project 2061 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS). Implementation of these reform projects requires teacher training in order to facilitate an understanding of how science develops and the dynamics of scientific progress. Consequently, in order to change the educational landscape we need to familiarize teachers with developments in HPS so that they can teach science as practiced by scientists. Research has also shown that these aspects with respect to the nature of science have generally been ignored by textbooks, classroom teachers and some curriculum developers. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the contemporary history and philosophy of science and its implications for science teacher education.

History of science shows that most of the major achievements of what we now take as the advancement or progress of scientific knowledge have been controversial due to alternative interpretations of experimental data. Scientific controversies are found throughout the history of science. While nobody would deny that science in the making has had many controversies, most science textbooks and curricula consider it as the uncontroversial rational human endeavor.

This book is based on the following epistemological guidelines: (a) it is the problem to be researched that determines the methodology to be used; (b) a historical reconstruction of a scientific theory can determine the different sources that contributed to its development; and (c) discussion of the historical reconstructions based on interactions among classroom teachers can facilitate the elaboration of new teaching strategies. These guidelines have been followed in this book while discussing the different historical episodes, which have important implications for teacher training.

Based on these considerations my book presents an overview of the dynamics of scientific progress and then develops innovative teaching strategies based on actual classroom practice. Development of the teaching strategies in turn is anchored in high school and introductory level university teachers, who were . . .

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