The influence of authentic scientific research experiences on teachers' conceptions of the nature of science (NOS) and their NOS teaching practices
Moriarty, Meghan A.
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This study explored the influence of teachers' authentic scientific research experiences (ASREs) on teachers' conceptions of the nature ofscience (NOS) and teachers' NOS instruction. Twelve high school biology teachers participated in this study. Six of the participants had authentic scientific research experience (ASRE) and six had not participated in authentic scientific research. Data included background surveys, modified Views of the Nature of Science (VNOS) questionnaires, interviews, and teaching observations. Data was coded based on the eight NOS understandings outlined in 2013 in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Evidence from this study indicates participating in authentic scientific research as a member of a scientific community has dual benefits of enabling high school science teachers with informed understandings of the NOS and positioning them to teach with the NOS. However, these benefits do not always result from an ASRE. If the nature of the ASRE is limited, then it may limit teachers' NOS understandings and their NOS teaching practices. The results of this study suggest that participation in ASREs may be one way to improve teachers' NOS understandings and teaching practices if the experiences themselves offer a comprehensive view of the NOS. Because ASREs and other science learning experiences do not always offer such experiences, pre-service teacher education and professional development opportunities may engage science teachers in two ways: (1) becoming part of a scientific community may enable them to teach with NOS and (2) being reflective about what being a scientist means may improve teachers' NOS understandings and better position them to teach about NOS.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Boston University