Workshop for Doctoral Students

Chairpersons: Agustín Adúriz Bravo, Thomas McCloughlin, Anna Koumara, Katerina Plakitsi

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Location: DCU – Space

This Workshop for Doctoral Students bridges the different teaching approaches of the Nature of Science within some interactive system of activities. One system of activities is the scientific research where Ledermans have established a solid structure. A second system is the typical school education and a third one is the field of Education for Sustainable development. Presenters from Argentina and Ireland will show a model-based approach to the design of NOS ideas to be taught, and a triangulation of the nature of science approach, the constructivist paradigm and the concept of eigenbehaviour. These theoretical challenges will be followed by an applied research within the Greek secondary education system and its meditative tools, as the school science textbooks and the workbooks. Finally, a Greek pre-service teacher training course will be presented. It is consisted of several activities around buildings, which have a cultural, environmental, and financial component, thus being part of all three pillars of Education for Sustainable Development. The discussion will emerge a new agenda on the teaching of NOS within interactive systems of activities sharing a same object. The Greek @fise group and scholars from Argentina and DCU welcome interventions to enrich the international discussion on the topic.

Presenters: Agustín Adúriz Bravo, Thomas McCloughlin, Anna Koumara, Katerina Plakitsi

 

TEACHING THE NATURE OF SCIENCE (nos) THROUGH MODELS IN CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION

Agustín Adúriz Bravo, CONICET/Instituto CeFIEC, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Categories: Nature of science: history, philosophy and sociology of science, Scientific literacy and socio scientific issues

Key words: Nature of Science, Socioscientific Issues, Teacher Professional Development

The purpose of this presentation is to suggest an alternative to the canonical approach to nature of science (NOS) teaching for citizenship, which suggests teaching a few big NOS ideas known as tenets. A ‘model based’ approach to the design of NOS ideas to be taught is here proposed; such proposal may provide a partial, tentative solution to problems that have arisen in the tenet approach. The so called ‘semantic view of scientific theories’ from contemporary philosophy of science is here used to sketch an explicit answer to some key issues identified in NOS teaching. In the proposal discussed here, NOS tenets that have value for citizen education can be constructed using as primary source recognizable ‘theoretical models’ coming from the philosophy of science; tenets would be then produced as linguistic ‘descriptions’ or ‘definitions’ of those models. The aim of this presentation is not to provide an alternative list of tenets, but rather to ‘make visible’ the process of tenet construction; this may serve as additional validation of the existing tenet lists, since it helps to identify both their source and the operations involved in their final formulation.

 

INTERACTIVE STRUCTURALISATIONS OF DNA IN SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY: EIGENBEHAVIOUR OF AN EIGENFORM.

Thomas McCloughlin, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

Categories: Nature of science: history, philosophy and sociology of science, Scientific literacy and socio scientific issues

Key words: NOS, DNA, Eigenbehaviour, Eigenform, Statistics

This work concerns the relationship of the NoS approach the constructivist paradigm with the concept of eigenbehaviour. Eigenbehaviours are human experiences or perceptions which are amenable to mathematical representation such as principal components analysis. The related ‘eigenform’ is the mathematical or computational artefact derived from eigenbehavioural construction. Seperately, principal components analysis, a core methodology of the repertory grid technique, relies on the calculation of eigenvectors and eigenvalues which regardless of the ephemeral nature of the original or raw data, serve as a fixed point not subject to the usual significance-based statistical paradigm. In this work, a taught module on molecular biology, students (average age = 17.23 years, n=23) were provided with tasks which explored their previous understanding of DNA and its role in inheritance. Models were produced by the students and during a prolonged exercise building a 1.5 metre molecular model, students in pairs were probed for their perceptions of their learning (eigenbehaviour) about DNA (an eigenform). Eigenvalues and eigenvectors are calculated for each ‘feature’ of the learning module which produce loadings that may be plotted as a Cartesian plane. When the resulting coordinates are plotted a structure is graphed in two (or three) dimensions which presents a structural framework of the students’ perceptions of their learning.

 

TEACHING THE NATURE OF SCIENCE IN LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL: THE CASE OF GREECE

Anna Koumara, Katerina Plakitsi, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece

Categories: Nature of science: history, philosophy and sociology of science, Scientific literacy and socio scientific issues

Key words: Nature of Science, Science Education, Secondary Education

This work attempts to note down the degree NOS is included in classes of Physics and Chemistry in Lower Secondary Education in Greece. Teaching of NOS appears in many countries’ curricula and has been taken into account in Greece as well. A list of internationally accepted NOS aspects was used to: a) study and analyze the official Curricula of Physics and Chemistry and the aforementioned school textbooks, b) interview School Inspectors and c) create a Google form questionnaire asking teachers to rate in the 5point Likert type scale the degree their teaching routine includes them. Through our study we concluded that: a) there are few records about NOS in both curricula and school textbooks. They mainly consider the inferential and empirical aspect of NOS but are incomplete and unclear. Greek students are taught that there is only one scientific method, almost all experiments are demonstrated by the teacher and are of Conformation or Structured Inquiry type. All curricula goals are cognitive and the evolution of scientific knowledge is presented as a “way to the absolute truth”. Greek surveys confirm this comment, displaying evidence that exams are focused on cognitive knowledge (definitions, laws, mathematical structures, and mathematical problems). b) All our notes are confirmed through the interviews taken from the 4 school Inspectors. c) Processing the initial small sample from the Google form questionnaire, we note that teacher’s trend between “often” and “rarely”, arising the problem whether they understand the meaning of the questions. To sum up, NOS in Greece is included in Science Education teaching in a limited degree.

 

SOCRATES’ HOUSE: AN EXAMPLE FOR TEACHING NATURE OF SCIENCE THROUGH EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABE DEVELOPMENT

Anthoula Maidou, Katerina Plakitsi, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece
Chariton Polatoglou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Categories: Nature of science: history, philosophy and sociology of science, Environmental, health and outdoor science education

Key words: Nature of Science, Society and Environment Education, Socioscientific Issues

Neither students nor teachers are often adequately enough informed about the Nature of Science (NOS). A good approach to enhance the knowledge of preservice teachers and students is training through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects, mentioning explicitly NOS aspects. We developed a short preservice teacher training course, consisting of several activities around Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). We decided to approach ESD through buildings, which have a cultural, environmental, and financial component, thus being part of all three pillars of ESD. Everybody, from the youngest preschool children to the elderly people have experiences from houses or school buildings. They may differ among various cultures and may have changed through the ages to adapt to the current way of living, but houses are a timeless and global phenomenon. Houses are also a convenient means to approach energy consumption and saving problems. Urgent environmental problems have turned humankind to renewable energy sources. A perfect paradigm from ancient Greece is the description of Socrates about how to build a house to be warm during winter and cool for summertime, as presented in Xenophon’s book “Memorabilia”, the so called “Socrates’ house”. This course has been delivered to preservice Early Childhood teachers at the University of Ioannina, Greece. We used a pre and post course questionnaire to check if the course resulted in awareness on ESD issues and NOS approaches. The findings showed a clear improvement of the students’ awareness.

Click here to register for this workshop