ISSN 1648-3898. 2005, No. 1 (7)
JOURNAL OF BALTIC SCIENCE EDUCATION
PHYSICS LEARNING WITH EXPLORATORY TALKS DURING A MINI-PROJECT – A CASE STUDY OF FOUR GIRLS WORKING WITH ELECTRIC CIRCUITS
Mälardalen University, Department of Mathematics and Physics, Sweden
Swedish National Graduate School of Science and Technology Education, Linköping University, Sweden
Mälardalen University, Department of Mathematics and Physics, Sweden
Abstract. During physics instruction with mini-projects, four upper secondary school girls decide to plan how to teach electric circuits to younger children. Their group discussions result in a conceptual change related to the concepts resistance and current. Their prior conception, built on current consumption, leads them into conceptual conflicts, and by exploratory talks they reach a new view based on current as movement with different speed. Students’ ownership of learning (SOL) is increased by an instructional design with mini-projects. This gives students the opportunity to choose a unique question, to determine their own learning process, to increase their motivation and to enhance development of competence and self-confidence.
Ownership of learning includes factors that connect the students' learning process to the students' learning environment. In this meaning the ownership is an aspect of student influence. With further cases the conceptual relations between ownership, motivation and learning hopefully can be further developed and clarified. In this small group work in physics the students have got possibility for ownership from the instructional design, and two individual have ownership by their possibility to relate to earlier experiences and anomalies of understanding. Their unique question gives them high motivation, and help them to enhance and develop their understanding of the concepts resistance and current by exploratory talks and reflective thinking. They find their old view of resistance to be misleading, and develop a new view where resistance is connected to the current speed (as amount of charges passing per second), a view closer to scientific thinking.
Key words: physics teaching, students’ ownership of learning, motivation, conceptual change, electric circuits.
Correspondence: Margareta Enghag, Ph.D Student, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Physics, Mälardalen University; P.O.Box 883, SE-721 23 Västerås, Sweden, Phone: + 46 21101508; +46 730 481846, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hans Niedderer, Professor of Physics Education, Dr., Department of Mathematics and Physics, Mälardalen University; P.O.Box 325 SE-63105 Eskilstuna, Sweden; Phone: + 46 16 153683 (work), or + 49 1755685984 (mob.); E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ AND TRAINEE SCIENCE TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF OZONE LAYER DEPLETION
Feyzi Osman Pekel
Ataturk University, Kazim Karabekir Education Faculty, Department of Science and Mathematics, Education, Turkey
The focus of this study was to
identify and describe misconceptions held by pre-service science teachers and
high school students regarding the ozone layer depletion. The views of the
participants were investigated using a closed-form questionnaire. The analysis
of the survey data indicates that many high school students and pre-service
science teachers possess an array of erroneous ideas about the ozone layer
damage, its causes and consequences. For a better teaching of environmental
issues, this study provides some implications for both teachers and researchers
of science education.
It is clearly important that teachers themselves do not, unwittingly, perpetuate erroneous ideas and it might be argued that major large-scale environmental issues should be addressed during the training of teachers. As the literatures have shown, such environmental issues also provide examples of the potential importance of children’s preconceptions, perhaps constructed from out-of-school sources, in the learning process. Global environmental problems might provide a further dimension, namely abstract issues about which information has been received from the media and other informal sources. Thus, by including this as an element of “children’s learning”, it should be possible to emphasize the difference in the causes and consequences of different global problems without a specific addition to curriculum load (Boyes et al., 1995), for example, a foreign language education class can explore ozone layer depletion and the means to alleviate this problem on a student’s daily life. From the results of this study, it is obvious that global environmental problems should be more formally embedded in to the curricula of both trainee teachers and their students.
Key words: high school students, pre-service teachers, misconceptions, ozone layer.
Correspondence: Feyzi Osman Pekel, Ataturk University, Kazim Karabekir Education Faculty, Department of Science and Mathematics Education, 25240 - Erzurum/TURKEY; Phone: +90 442 2314031; Fax: +90 442 2360955; E-mail: email@example.com
The Student Voice in Science Education: Research and Issues
Edgar W. Jenkins
Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
The article reviews a range of national and international studies concerned with
students’ views about science and their school science education. It suggests
that such views have gained some prominence in recent years and comments why
this is so. It examines the implications of some of the research findings for
policy makers, curriculum developers and science teachers. It concludes that,
while the outcomes of specific research studies are always interesting, such
outcomes may prove to be of most use in helping to develop more general
strategies for increasing student motivation, commitment and attainment.
Given the methodological diversity among the various studies of student opinion about their school science education, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that many of the findings are consistent across a number of different education systems and cultures. For example, physics seems an unpopular subject with girls in most countries and a number of other gender differences in students’ responses are prevalent. It is also the case that many students would like to see more attention given in their school science education to contemporary and controversial issues in science that relate to their everyday experiences. ‘Many’ however, is not all and most surveys reveal a significant but important minority of students who either have no strong opinion upon, or take a contrary view about, a number of issues such as the alleged difficulty of school science or the inclusion of socio-scientific issues within the school science curriculum. For example, in the Student Review of the Science Curriculum in England, referred to above, 29 per cent of the students (n = 1,471) “didn’t mind” whether or not controversial issues were included in school science and 55 per cent said that their experience of primary schools had had no effect on their attitudes towards science (Planet Science et al., 2003).
Correspondence: Edgar W.Jenkins, Emeritus Research Professor, Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, United Kingdom; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXPERIENCES AND THEIR ROLE IN SCIENCE EDUCATION
Mattias Lundin, Mats Lindahl
University of Kalmar, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Sweden.
This study focuses what role re-actualized
experiences may have in a school science setting. Observations were done in two
Swedish schools with emphasis on teacher centred lessons. Data consist of field
notes, recordings and documents. Two major themes of the results can be
highlighted. First, the teachers’ and pupils’ mutual interest in pupils’
re-actualized experiences. Second, the limited elaboration of those. These
issues are discussed due to teachers’ work with different purposes. We call that
teachers’ orchestration of multiple agendas in science education. Re-actualized
experiences appear to become means for motivating pupils in their work with
different tasks in order to make them cope.
The results of this study indicate a difference, compared to what Bergqvist (1990) reports on students posing questions. Here the immediate concern neither seemed to be inductive learning nor to find any correct answers, as in Bergqvist’s study. Instead the task including writing questions and formulation of so called hypotheses promoted the re-actualization of experiences. The task connects the classroom activity to pupils’ previous experiences. The ways of dealing with re-actualized experiences seem to have been appropriated in a way that a limited elaboration has become sufficient. Expressed in other words, we could say that an agenda concerning time and the progress of lessons towards other content areas, sometimes become crucial. In other cases an agenda of considering safety becomes crucial. Although time seem to be at stake, it has to be stressed that re-actualized experiences might become relevant in a not necessarily expected way.
experience, learning science, science education.
Correspondence: Mattias Lundin, Doctoral student in science education, member of Swedish Graduate School in Science and Technology Education Research, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of Kalmar, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden; Phone: +46 480 446928; E-mail: email@example.com
Mats Lindahl , Assistant professor, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of Kalmar, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden.
THE COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PROSPECTIVE SCIENCE TEACHERS’ SKILLS OF WRITTEN EXPLANATION
Umeå University, Sweden
Karelian State Pedagogical University, Russia
Abstract. A comparative
study of prospective teachers’ pedagogical skills of written communication in
science is presented. Russian and Swedish students were asked to give detailed
explanations of two simple physical phenomena (how and why the shadow from a
tree appears and why the bulb lights in a torch) to a hypothetical Grade 7
pupil. The results of the questionnaire revealed the evident gap between the
students’ knowledge per se and their abilities to express didactically their
knowledge in written form and in pictures. Undoubtedly this is one of the
challenges to teacher educators. The study also revealed the differences between
forms and qualities of explanations given by Russian and Swedish students as the
result of different pedagogical traditions and communication cultures.
The analysis of the findings from this study shows that the Russian prospective teachers had more problems with seeing themselves in the role of teacher than did the Swedish students. Russian participants of the study tended to answer the questions just as if they were students on a science course. Their explanations tended to be more academic and formalised than is appropriate for a Grade 7 pupil. In our opinion, this reflects the strict and formal style of teaching / learning which still dominates in Russian teacher education. For Russian students and teacher trainers, a correct answer is valued more highly than a good pedagogical form of presentation. Apparently, the skills of reworking knowledge and communication at the appropriate for children level are not systematically practiced in Russian teacher education.
In contrast, in Swedish teacher education, students frequently work in small groups, often practising presentations at the children’s level. They generally feel quite comfortable in acting out different social roles and responsibilities. This reflects the conviction of Swedish teacher educators that learning about science should reflect a participatory and collaborative knowledge generating process. Thus, science education in Sweden is seen as a participatory activity in which teachers and learners share responsibility for learning.
science teacher education, comparative study, communication skills,
Correspondence: Oleg Popov, Deputy Head of the Department, Department of Mathematics, Technology and Science Education (MaTNv inst.), Faculty of Teacher Education, Umeе University, 901 87 Umeе, Sweden; Phone: +46-90-786 6463 (work).
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Home page: www.educ.umu.se/~popov
Sergey Bogdanov, Dean, Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, Karelian State Pedagogical University, Pushkinskaya 17, Petrozavodsk, 185680 Karelian State Pedagogical University, Russia; Phone: +7 (8142) 765295 (work); E-mail: email@example.com
STUDYING STUDENTS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE MICROSCOPIC AND THE MACROSCOPIC DESCRIPTIONS IN CHEMISTRY
Department of Chemistry, University of Venda, South Africa
Department of Materials and Earth Sciences, Polytechnical University of the Marche, Italy.
The perception of the distinction
and interplay between concepts and models pertaining to the description of the
microscopic level and those pertaining to the description of the macroscopic
level is a key feature largely determining conceptual understanding in
chemistry. Information about the extent and clarity of such perception can
therefore be valuable for the design and optimisation of approaches to the
presentation of basic and general chemistry material. The paper presents the
outcomes of an investigation in this regard, performed by subsequently
administering three specifically designed questionnaires to a group of first
year students taking a general chemistry course. The discussion considers both
the conceptual and the practical relevance of the issue and extends to
inferences for classroom work and for the general approaches to chemistry
The study presented here was diagnostic in character, with specific focus on students’ beliefs and perceptions about the distinction and interplay of the two levels of description in chemistry. Since the two levels and their interplay are an integral part of the entire body of chemistry, the questionnaires utilised covered a considerable proportion of the content of a general chemistry course. The results enable the inference that the design of the questionnaires was apt for the objectives of the study. A comparison between the study at NUL and the study in the Italian context highlights the relevance of the second and third questionnaires for the information to be more complete and detailed. The quick survey carried out in 1998 highlighted the relevance of the second questionnaire to complement the information of the first one – the comparison with the first survey showed that the examples chosen by the students filling the second questionnaire enabled a deeper insight into their “practical” views and their perceptions not only of the individual entries, but of the issue as a whole.
Keywords: microscopic description, macroscopic description, general chemistry courses.
Professor, Department of
Chemistry, University of Venda, P/bag X5050,
South Africa; Phone: +27 15 9628147; fax: +27 15 9624749. E-mail: Liliana@univen.ac.za
FINDING POSSIBILITIES TO IMPROVE SCIENCE EDUCATION IN HIGH SCHOOL AND GYMNASIUM
Daugavpils University, Latvia
knowledge, skills and attitudes are cultural products of great intellectual
power and beauty. The future of science education and scientific literacy of
youngsters is determined by the educational policy of the country, moreover, it
also depends on teachers working at schools and universities. The tasks of
reported research work was to explore approachable literature about natural
science education in general and to analyse corresponding educational problems
particularly in Latvia.
The tasks of reported research work was to explore approachable literature about natural science education in general and to analyse some corresponding educational problems particularly in Latvia. Particular attention has been paid to the following components of contemporary educational process: developing student’s thinking skills, they skills to make connections to a known material and to real life situations.
The author was found out that only 35% of science teachers are paying attention to a process of organizing study process, about 40% of science teachers become a source of knowledge to their students.
It was stated that not much attention has been paid to interdisciplinary themes and problems, not much attention has been paid to designing positive social environment and building student’s value system.
Science teachers need to recognize that they educate students to be able to develop their skills, attitudes and awareness as members of the society through a context of science.
science, scientific literacy, educational
approach, teaching-learning strategies.
Correspondence: Lolita Jonâne, Lecturer, Master of Physics, working on Doctor thesis. Daugavpils University, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Parades St.1, Daugavpils, LV-5401, Latvia; Phone: +371 5422302; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Opinions of Physics Teachers on the Nature of the Content of Physics Senior Secondary Syllabi and Resources
The purpose of this study was to find out the opinions of
physics teachers on the nature of BGCSE physics syllabi in Single Science,
Double Science and Pure Science in the areas of their: (i) content (ii)
objectives (iii) teaching methods (iv) differentiation teaching (v) assessment
(vi) teaching orientation (viii) availability of computers (ix) student projects
(x) laboratory facilities (xi) duration of the
programme and (xii) laboratory assistants. A 38-item
open-ended questionnaire was completed by 22 senior secondary school physics
teachers. The results showed the need to revise the content, and assessment
practices and those teachers were trying to promote learner-centered approach,
even though they were faced with problems.
The study suggests the reduction of physics topics and objectives in each of the three physics syllabi. The two-year duration of the programme should be increased to three years to ensure that the content is covered adequately. The students should be placed into Pure, Double and Single Science on the basis of their performance in Form 3 examinations. Most physics teachers considered it realistic to expect students to acquire the four process skills of: (i) using and organizing techniques, apparatus and materials, (ii) observing, measuring and recording, (iii) handling experimental observations and data and (iv) planning investigations in two years. The commonly employed teaching methods included class discussion, group discussion and class presentation, practical work (individual/group), questioning (question/answer), assignment (class and home work), and worksheet-guidelines for performing experiments. Some physics teachers favoured the assessment system in which students’ final course grade is based on the ratio of 20% continuous assessment to 80% final examinations. Though most physics teachers are computer literate, their departments are not adequately equipped with functional computers for use in word processing and record keeping. Most physics teachers were of the opinion that it was possible for students to do projects in two years. Most physics teachers said that their physics laboratories were inadequately equipped with facilities to enable students to carry out individual practical work. They lacked trained technicians to assist teachers in setting up and running practical sessions.
Key words: the content of physics syllabi and resources.
Correspondence: Cephas David
Professor (Ph.D. Science
Education), University of Botswana, Faculty of Education, Department of
Mathematics and Science Education. Private Bag 0022,
Gaborone, Botswana; E-mail:
Magdeline Patience Nkumba, Final Year Student (B.Ed. Special Education) University of Botswana, Faculty of Education, Department of Mathematics and Science Education; Private Bag 0022, Gaborone, Botswana; E-mail: Mcdpatnku.@yahoo.co.uk
Mokaruvapa Kazoozu, Science Teacher (B.Ed. Science), Itekeng Secondary School, Private Bag 16, Ghanzi. Botswana; E-mail: email@example.com