Development of Pre-Service Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Nature of Science Embedded Into Science Content

Gazi University, Turkey

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mehmet Fatih TAŞAR

Co-Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Fitnat KÖSEOĞLU

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Scientific literacy is the overarching goal of science education. An adequate understanding of Nature of Science (NOS) is an indispensable component of scientific literacy. An adequate understanding of NOS is considered to be an important educational outcome in the official science curricula in Turkey. Therefore, the teaching of NOS and the integration of NOS into science content are the issues noteworthy for science educators. In fact, science educators across the globe have spent considerable effort to help both pre-service and in-service science teachers to develop pedagogical competency to teach NOS in an effective manner. In this study, I focus on pre-service science teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) for NOS. PCK briefly refers to teachers’ knowledge and skills as well as the reflection of these knowledge and skills to their teaching. The observation and evaluation of PCK are usually possible through micro-teaching, which is a controlled practice of teaching in a focused manner in terms of scope and content.

The purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate the development of pre-service science teachers’ PCK regarding the teaching of NOS embedded in a science content through observation of their micro-teaching practices. The pre-service science teachers involved in this study participated in a course, where they learned about PCK regarding the teaching of NOS, which is embedded into a science content and given through activities designed by explicit-reflective teaching approach. A pilot study was performed with 40 pre-service science teachers prior to the main study. The main study was conducted with 50 freshman pre-service science teachers enrolled in the Elementary Science Education department. All pre-service science teachers in this study were enrolled in a course named, Nature of Science and History of Science. The course lasted for 14 weeks. The sample was selected via purposeful sampling strategy by assuring representation of maximum variation.

The research in this study was accomplished through mixed-method research designs, in which exploratory-sequential design and weak-experimental design, which is pretest-posttest single group design, were utilized jointly. Data were collected by means of pre- and post- administration of Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire-Form C (VNOS-C) before and after 12-week micro-teaching practices as well as by semi-structured interviews conducted with 3 pre-service science teachers as a follow-up. Moreover, in-class observation-control checklist and a rubric were developed by the researcher to evaluate the micro-teachings, video-recording of all micro-teachings were done, and lesson plans prepared by the pre-service science teachers were used as additional data sources. Qualitative data were analyzed by qualitative content analysis, descriptive analysis, and investigation of written documents, while quantitative data were analyzed by using paired samples t-test with SPSS 17 statistical software.

The results of the study demonstrate the effectiveness of explicit-reflective, activity-based NOS teaching in improving pre-service science teachers’ knowledge of NOS, despite a number of cases, who still hold misconceptions at the end of the instruction. An important outcome of this study is the model of PCK regarding the teaching of NOS embedded within a specific science content. The follow-up interview conducted with 3 pre-service teachers, who were enrolled in the course where the model is the main component of the instruction, revealed significant improvement in pre-service teachers’ PCK regarding the teaching NOS embedded into a science content in their micro-teaching practices. In conclusion, the findings of this study have significant implications for curriculum development and pre-service science teacher education; the recommendations for further research and the difficulties as well as experiences of the researcher are also presented.

Keywords: Science Education, Pre-service Science Teachers, Science Content, Nature of Science, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Micro-teaching

Thesis full reference:

Ozcan, H. (2013). Development of Pre-Service Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Nature of Science Embedded Into Science Content. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey.


Dr. Hasan ÖZCAN

Gazi University

Faculty of Education

Department of Primary Education

Science Teacher Education Program

06500, Ankara-TURKEY

Tel: +90 (312) 202 20 00

Fax: +90 (312) 202 83 87

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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