Across Content and Pedagogy: Seeking Coherence in NOS Instruction in Teacher Education Programs
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While reforms emphasize understanding the nature of science (NOS), a challenge in meeting the vision of the reforms is that teachers lack understandings consistent with contemporary views of NOS. Though teacher educators have successfully improved prospective teachers' views of NOS within science methods courses (Akerson et al., 2000) and specialized science content courses for teachers (Abd-El-Khalick, 2001; Hanuscin, et al., 2004), recent work questions whether such single-course efforts are sufficient to promote retention of improved views (Akerson, et al., 2006). From a conceptual change perspective, we examined the development of preservice elementary teachers' views of NOS across their program of study. Utilizing the VNOS-C (Lederman, et al., 2002), we conducted a pretest posttest for treated and comparison groups of both science content (physics) and pedagogy (methods) courses. 76% of participants who received NOS instruction in their science content course exhibited improved views, while only 14% of participants enrolled in a comparison section did so. Those who later enrolled in a methods course that emphasized NOS retained or further improved their views, while those who enrolled in a methods course in which NOS was not a primary focus reverted to their original views. Our findings underscore the importance of coherence in NOS instruction throughout teacher education.