Main Article Content
The study explored science and science education professors’ nature of science (NOS) understandings and perceptions on NOS instruction before (T1), during (T2), and after (T3) a professional development series. Using repeated measures design, findings showed an increasing trend across NOS aspects. Summary scores were used to classify participants’ NOS views as alternative, transitional, or informed. From T1 to T3, participants (n=19) shifted from alternative (16%) and transitional (84%), to transitional (100%) at T2, and ended as transitional (53%)/informed (47%). There were particularly significant changes in participants’ understanding of observations and inferences and the sociocultural influence on the enterprise of science. The findings did not reveal significant changes in participants’ perceptions on NOS instruction. On reflective responses, however, a majority expressed a desire to learn about more NOS activities that can be used in their instruction. The study provides evidence that relatively short PDs, when implemented with explicit NOS activities, have potential to positively impact NOS understanding. While less impactful on participants’ NOS instructional perspectives, it is encouraging that the majority of the participants indicated a desire to learn strategies to teach NOS. More research can help improve the efficacy of PD methods and help identify key constructs that are most relevant for perceptions of NOS instruction.
Keywords: nature of science, professional development, teacher education, preservice teachers
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