Networking in European Science Teacher Training – Delivering Insight
The decreasing recruitment to most Science and Technology educations is seen as a large problem in most European and US countries. A reason for this reluctance is seen in the negative although inadequate image of science and scientists that is not possible to harmonise with youth’s identity construction (Schreiner/Sjøberg 2006).
Within the 7th European framework program the project NETTS intends to initiate an appropriate understanding of science to students of education as aspired by the theoretical construct Nature of Science (NOS) with the impact of a multiple to improve in the long term science education at schools. According to Hofer (2001) we have to start improving science teacher training as the epistemological beliefs of teachers influence their pedagogical practices in classes which influence again the epistemological theories of students.
Improvement means to establish a way of teaching that is orientated in the subjects (i.e. the students) and their competencies with the aim to educate politically mature persons who cope with life in society. Mechanisms of exclusion have to be avoided that are evident in the traditional and often favored teacher centered teaching with the confirmed habit of a question developing classroom discourse. There is no direct and legitimate way from content to comprehension (Edelstein 2004). Students need to connect subject matters with personal sense realizing the advantage of learning for life instead of studying for school and tests. Consequently knowing the facts is not the highest aim of education but developing competencies like the ability to communicate, reflect on issues, judge about facts and the motivated capacity to act independently and accordingly to one’s own moral standards (Nunner-Winkler 2006). Edelstein (2004) calls contents and competencies a “loosely coupled system” in which the content can be understood as an opportunity structure for competencies.
Learning is only systematized in the outlined way in schools and universities with consequences of boredom and neglect of the lessons learned. In the reality of scientific practice learning is guided by experience and produces experience (Edelstein 2004).
To achieve this learning environment in schools teacher trainers have to offer seminars with the mentioned standards in university and overcome their own predominant instructional kind of teaching (Wildt 2003).
Obviously there is a blind spot existing in the system of higher education as there are so many excellent books and studies about good teaching without having an influence on classroom practice.
Wildt (2003) proposed a model of reflexive professional teacher education looking on the blind spot. Instructing scientific theory is also embedded in a didactical practice: lectures in teacher Education. While teaching pre-service teacher trainees teacher educators are nothing else than teachers and trainees are nothing else than students taking part in one practice. In order to get forward on the steps of professional teacher education this practice has to be involved in reflective thinking about scientific theory.
This theoretical framework is realized in the project NETTS. Several Universities in Europe establish academic-didactic interventions in form of NOS-based project seminars. Those are imbedded in the complex topic of Science and Society. The prospective teachers gain in self-directed, self-dependant and constructive work theoretical knowledge about Nature of Science (NOS) and the project method (Frey 2002) which is to be implemented practically into self prepared but at the same time authentic learning environments in schools. The planning and the realization of the project including the own and the team process as well as the grade of successful transfer of theoretical findings into practical experiences have to be reflected afterwards.
The study implies a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative research methods (Flick 2004).
Data is collected by a closed and reliable questionnaire (pre-/post-design) which records the beliefs of the students of education concerning the construct „Professional Identity“ (pedagogue vs. subject expert) and „Being Good in Teaching Science“ (importance and self assessment of competencies).
To survey the (pre-) understanding of NOS of students already developed instruments like the German version of VNOS is adopted. This open questionnaire is evaluated with the Qualitative Content Analysis of Mayring (2007).
During the semester every meeting of the seminar and the process of the student work is pursued by a participant observation.
After the realization of each project the students have to write a reflection (10-20 pages) of their own and the team process happening during the connection between theory and practical experience.
To validate the data interviews with the students of the project seminars are planned.
The collected data shows the necessity to face the traditional socialization of the teachers to-be. We have to implement structures at university which allow breaking the vicious circle. The aim of the project NETTS is to change the existing naïve convictions about science of the teacher trainees into mature and adequate beliefs so that a habitus of research oriented learning (Wildt 2003) and a modern way of teaching result which lead to a student centered and output orientated education where students can learn for life.
Abels, Simone/Wellensiek, Anneliese (2008): EU-Projekt „Ambassadors for Women and Science – Pallas Athene“. Abschließende Evaluation des Projektverbundes. In: Höttecke, D. (Hrsg.), Gesellschaft für die Didaktik der Chemie und Physik. Kompetenzen, Kompetenzmodelle, Kompetenzentwicklung. Band 27, Berlin: Lit-Verlag. S. 335-337
Edelstein, W. (2004): Für das Leben lernen? In: Petry, C./Pistor, H.: Der lange Weg der Bildungsreform. Gisela und Hermann Freudenberg zum 80. Geburtstag. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz-Verlag. S. 63-72
European Commission (2007): Science Education Now: A Renewed Pedagogy for the Future of Europe. http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/report-rocard-on-science-education_en.pdf (GENERIC) Ref Type: Electronic Citation
Flick, U. (2004): Triangulation. Eine Einführung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften/GWV Fachverlage GmbH
Frey, K. (2002): Die Projektmethode. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Verlag
Hofer, B. (2001): Personal Epistemology Research: Implications for Learning and Teaching. In: Journal of Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 13, No.4, pp. 353-383
Höttecke, D. (2007): Rekonstruktion der Vorstellungen von Physikstudierenden über die Natur der Naturwissenschaften - eine explorative Studie. In: Physik und Didaktik in Schule und Hochschule PhyDid 1/6, S. 1-14
Höttecke, D. (2004): Schülervorstellungen über die Natur der Naturwissenschaften. In: Corinna Hößle, Dietmar Höttecke, & Ernst Kircher (Hrsg.): Lehren und Lernen über die Natur der Naturwissenschaften. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren. S. 264-277
Ledermann, N.G. et al. (2002): Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire: Toward Valid and Meaningful Assessment of Learners’ Conceptions of Nature of Science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching (39), no. 6, pp. 497-521
Lembens, A./Rehm, M. (2008): EU-Projekt “Ambassadors for Women and Science – Pallas Athene” Erfahrungen und Konsequenzen aus dem Projektverbund. In: Höttecke, D. (Hrsg.), Gesellschaft für Didaktik der Chemie und Physik. Kompetenzen, Kompetenzmodelle, Kompetenzentwicklung. Band 27, Berlin: Lit-Verlag. S. 377-379
Mayring, P. (2007): Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken. 9. Auflage, Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Verlag
McComas, W.F./Clough, M.P./Almazroa, H. (1998): The Role And Character of The Nature of Science in Science Education. In: McComas, W.F.: The Nature of Science in Science Education, Rationales and Strategies. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Pp. 3-39
McComas, W.F. (1998): The Principal Elements of The Nature of Science: Dispelling the Myths. In: McComas, W.F.: The Nature of Science in Science Education, Rationales and Strategies. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Pp. 53-70
Nunner-Winkler, G./Meyer-Nikele, M./Wohlrab, D. (2006): Integration durch Moral. Moralische Motivation und Ziviltugenden Jugendlicher. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
Schreiner, C. and Sjøberg, S. (2006): Science Education and youth's identity construction - two incompatible projects? http://folk.uio.no/sveinsj/Values-ROSE-Schreiner-Sjoberg.pdf. (GENERIC), Ref Type: Electronic Citation
Sjøberg, S. (2002): Science and Technology Education. Current Challenges and possible Solutions. http://folk.uio.no/sveinsj/STE_paper_Sjoberg_UNESCO2.htm. (GENERIC) Ref Type: Electronic Citation
Wildt, J. (2003): Reflexives Lernen in der Lehrerbildung – ein Mehrebenenmodell in hochschuldidaktischer Perspektive. In: Obolenski, A./Meyer, H.: Forschendes Lernen. Theorie und Praxis einer professionellen LehrerInnenausbildung. Bad Heilbrunn/Obb.: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt. S. 71-84
Ziener, G. (2006): Bildungsstandards in der Praxis. Kompetenzorientiert unterrichten. Seelze-Velber: Kallmeyer Verlag in Verbindung mit Klett
This proposal is part of a master or doctoral thesis.