Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Research on Relationships between Two Kinds of Scientific Epistemology Held by High School Science Teachers from Beijing and New York *

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Research on Relationships between Two Kinds of Scientific Epistemology Held by High School Science Teachers from Beijing and New York *

Article excerpt

Epistemological belief in science refers to the characteristics of scientific knowledge and the development of cognitive or views of scientific knowledge, which is a personal scientific philosophy belief (Elder, 2002). The nature of science (NOS) and scientific inquiry (SI) are the core proposition of scientific literacy, which belong to the category of epistemological belief in science. Researchers explain the NOS with the two concepts of "a way to acquire knowledge" and "epistemology," in other words, science is a way to understand the world (Matthews, 1998). Epistemological belief in science is a big conception, in which the NOS and SI is often confused, and they have a certain relationship, but also a great difference. SI is referred to the process of scientific knowledge development, as a result of the practice and hypothesis of this process, the knowledge production has inevitable characteristics, which related to the NOS. Epistemological belief in science of teachers mainly includes the understanding of the NOS, SI, and so on. In science teaching, teachers not only enable students to learn scientific knowledge, but also to train students' basic skills and methods of thinking through the process of scientific knowledge generation, therefore, promote the international K-12 science education advocates to explore the teaching methods and course contents which take inquiry as the core goals. When inquiry teaching is advocated, the inner relationship between the NOS and SI is often ignored, this dynamic relationship of which directly affects teachers' scientific teaching and their epistemological development.

Literature Review

The researchers suggest the epistemological belief in science should be the main part of science education (e.g., Chinn & Malhotra, 2002; Duschl & Grandy, 2005), because students not only need to understand the scientific content, but also the evolution of scientific ideas and the process of proof. Inquiry teaching is considered to be the most appropriate teaching strategies in science education, to participate in the inquiry process could help students to understand the scientific knowledge (Sandoval, 2005). American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 1989) indicates that the standards of science education are the core objective of science education, and science education should teach students the concepts and processes of science. Therefore, it is very important to test the way that students participate in science learning activities, which could build their views of science. The scientific process is a bridge between the epistemological belief and science education, including the construction and demonstration of concepts. The epistemological belief is related to the nature of knowledge, and understanding the nature of scientific knowledge is an important aspect of understanding of science meaningfully, many researchers study the epistemological belief from the perspective of teaching practice (e.g. Hammer & Elby, 2003; Wang, Wen, & Jou, 2016). One of the goals of science education is to guide students to develop the effectual conception of nature of scientific knowledge, referring to the development of views on the results of scientific knowledge to guide them to participate meaningfully in the current and future scientific study (Chai, Deng, Wong, & Qian, 2010). This concept itself includes the belief and practice, used to understand how to construct and support the meaningful participation of the scientific learning environment, to support the development of students' epistemological belief in science.

The research on epistemological belief proposed that personal belief in the nature of knowledge can affect the interpretation of the cognitive learning and information (Kuhn, Cheney, & Weinstock, 2001; Schommer-Aikins & Hutter, 2002). Tsai (1999), Yager and Lutz (1995) and others studies indicated that teachers could enhance students' views of NOS promoted from positivism to constructivism through STS teaching (with social themes related to science and technology, using the role playing, debates, group discussion and other teaching methods). …

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