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part of the Education Reform Networks

Taiwanese Preservice Teachers' Conceptions of Nature and the Nature of Science

This study examined views of the human relationship with the natural world and understandings about the nature of science (NOS) held by preservice elementary teachers in the context of Taiwan. The participants included 54 third-year students enrolled in the departments of science education and mathematics education at a teacher college. Data were gathered by two open-ended questionnaires with follow-up interviews. An anthropocentric-moderate continuum emerged to describe participants' views of humanity's relationship with nature. Participants with informed NOS conceptions were more likely to emphasize harmony with Nature, recognize the limitations of scientific knowledge, and accept the idea that science involves subjective and cultural components. On the other hand, participants who provided a pragmatic perspective of Nature seemed to possess narrow views about the scientific enterprises by describing science as close to technology and as a mathematical benefit. The results in this study depict a group of nonwestern preservice teachers' worldviews and reveal the interplay between their sociocultural beliefs and NOS conceptions. People with different worldviews may have differing views about science. The study calls for the consideration of incorporating sociocultural perspectives in science instruction and the need for introducing contemporary conceptions of the NOS to science learners. (Author)

  • Contributor: Liu, Shiang-Yao, Lederman, Norman G.
  • Date Published: 03-22
  • Year: 2003

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