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Teaching With and About Nature of Science, and Science Teacher Knowledge Domains

Abstract

The ubiquitous goals of helping precollege students develop informed conceptions of nature of science (NOS) and experience inquiry learning environments that progressively approximate authentic scientific practice have been long-standing and central aims of science education reforms around the globe. However, the realization of these goals continues to elude the science education community partly because of a persistent, albeit not empirically supported, coupling of the two goals in the form of 'teaching about NOS with inquiry'. In this context, the present paper aims, first, to introduce the notions of, and articulate the distinction between, teaching with and about NOS, which will allow for the meaningful coupling of the two desired goals. Second, the paper aims to explicate science teachers' knowledge domains requisite for effective teaching with and about NOS. The paper argues that research and development efforts dedicated to helping science teachers develop deep, robust, and integrated NOS understandings would have the dual benefits of not only enabling teachers to convey to students images of science and scientific practice that are commensurate with historical, philosophical, sociological, and psychological scholarship (teaching about NOS), but also to structure robust inquiry learning environments that approximate authentic scientific practice, and implement effective pedagogical approaches that share a lot of the characteristics of best science teaching practices (teaching with NOS).

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