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M.A. Manassero-Mas, A. Vázquez-Alonso

University of the Balearic Islands (SPAIN)
Scholars consider nature of science (NoS) a central component of scientific literacy for all and as such, it must be taught in school science curricula. Further, the complexity and innovative status of NoS topics put higher demands on its teaching and besides tend to deter teachers from its teaching (Leden, Hansson, Redfors & Ideland, 2015). Thus, the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is a corner stone in teacher training to amalgamate content understanding and pedagogy (Loughran, Berry and Mulhall, 2012).

This communication focuses on the development of teachers’ PCK to teach the complex and innovative NoS topics through an action research (AR) methodology (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988).

The general methodology corresponds to an action research process on teaching practice, where the teacher applies a short teaching learning sequence (TLS) on a specific trait of NoS (observation in science) to her natural group of 20 undergraduate science teacher students. The intervention effectiveness on students' NoS conceptions is assessed through a pre-test/post-test design on scientific observation. The assessment of the effects on teacher’s training and professional development is carried out by means of the AR methodology, through explicit and reflexive action on teaching practices, which is documented through PCK instruments.

The pre-test mean indices show that students hold poor conceptions on observation prior to treatment. The post-test mean indices reach better and positive indices. The interpretation of these results states that the educational intervention was effective to improve students' conceptions on scientific observations.

The representation of contents for teaching the TLS is based on three "big ideas", the teacher considers necessary for right understanding of science observation: visual experiences are not only determined by the images, observation in science depends on theory and observational statements are loaded with theory.

The foundations, the methodology and more details of the study will be expanded at the conference.

The implementation of the TLS "observation in science" improved science teacher students’ and teacher’s NoS conceptions. Further, the AR allowed the teacher being aware of the important contributions for student teachers and the role of assessment and PCK instruments for self-training of teaching staff on NoS issues seems relevant and promising.

Project EDU2015-64642-R (MINECO/FEDER) with funding from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain and the European Regional Development Fund.

[1] Loughran, J., Berry, A., & Mulhall, P. (Eds.) (2012). Understanding and Developing Science Teachers Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
[2] Leden, L., Hansson, L., Redfors, A., & Ideland, M. (2015). Teachers’ Ways of Talking About Nature of Science and Its Teaching. Science & Education, 24, 1141–1172.
[3] Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (1988). The action research planner. Victoria, Australia: Deakin University Press.