Search ETDs:
How Elementary School Teachers Teach Science: Using Nature of Science to Understand Elementary Teachers's Science Identities and Teaching Practices - A Case Study
Wilms, Carl E

2014, Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, Educational Leadership.
Politicians and educators frequently refer to the lack of science being taught in public schools. President Obama has voiced concerns about employers’ economic interests not being served through public school’s science education. An understanding of science is also required in order to evaluate political and social justice issues. This project identifies aspects of the epistemological understandings of science known as Nature of Science (NOS) that were found in elementary school teachers’ science identities and their teaching practices. The case study used surveys, interviews, and classroom observations, to construct individual stories that capture participants’ science identities.

Emergent themes were identified within the teachers’ identities. Experiences with informed NOS instruction (K-16) were lacking. Instructional practices of teachers aligned with their understandings of science epistemology. Consequences of national, state, and local, education policies were identified. All participants acknowledged needs and desires for professional development in science instruction. However, no efforts were being undertaken to pursue or provide in-service training for science. The statuses of these teachers cannot be unique in a nation possessing numerous similar rural settings. The insight gained through this study provides an important glimpse of U.S. education that policy makers need to appreciate in order to be able to generate the political advocacy necessary to enact quality science education reform.

This project concludes with proposals for future training designed to foster understandings of science epistemology that are necessary for effective science teaching. Providing support effecting informed science epistemology (NOS) requires alterations to professional and personal identities; not lists of standards or administrative directives to teach science. Teachers’ naive science identities, transformed through an acculturation of NOS, may generate classroom practices where knowledge of science, not scientific knowledge, becomes foundations for generating new science identities capable of rationally engaging democratic and social issues in our futures.
Richard Quantz, PhD (Committee Chair)
Thomas Poetter, PhD (Committee Member)
Lawrence Boggess, PhD (Committee Member)
Nazan Bautista, PhD (Committee Member)
241 p.

Recommended Citations

Hide/Show APA Citation

Wilms, C. (2014). How Elementary School Teachers Teach Science: Using Nature of Science to Understand Elementary Teachers's Science Identities and Teaching Practices - A Case Study. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Hide/Show MLA Citation

Wilms, Carl. "How Elementary School Teachers Teach Science: Using Nature of Science to Understand Elementary Teachers's Science Identities and Teaching Practices - A Case Study." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2014. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 Oct 2017.

Hide/Show Chicago Citation

Wilms, Carl "How Elementary School Teachers Teach Science: Using Nature of Science to Understand Elementary Teachers's Science Identities and Teaching Practices - A Case Study." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2014. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Files

Wilms_Dissertation_July_2014_Final.pdf (1.64 MB) View|Download