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Exploring and implementing an intercultural model of history of science to teach about nature of science

Gandolfi, Haira Emanuela; (2019) Exploring and implementing an intercultural model of history of science to teach about nature of science. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The inclusion of Nature of Science (NOS) within science education has been advocated for decades and History of Science (HOS) has been employed, among other approaches, to facilitate the integration between learning about the processes of science (NOS) and its products (scientific content). Nonetheless, when investigating current science curricula and school science practices, we identify the use of very few and specific historical cases to teach about NOS, with less attention paid to making a more diversified set of histories available for science teachers and their students. This scenario and its possible effects on students’ views about scientific development were explored in this study through the development of an Exploratory phase at two comprehensive schools in London/U.K., involving five science teachers and their students (aged 12-15), and qualitative methods of data generation (lesson observations, interviews and open-ended questionnaires) and analysis. Findings highlighted students’ restricted view about who participates in scientific work (mainly male European scientists and Western communities) and an overreliance on evidence and experimentation as the main features of scientific work, whilst social and institutional aspects were peripheral to their understandings of science. In addition, school science practices that promote (e.g. explicit in-depth discussions, assessment and curricular flexibility) and those that hinder (e.g. implicit, illustrative and stand-alone approaches, focus on content and experimentation in official examinations) knowledge development about NOS and diversity in science were also identified. In a subsequent phase – Implementation – I investigated possibilities offered by an intercultural model of HOS for the teaching and learning about NOS from a broader and more culturally diverse perspective. Through collaborative work with one science teacher, ideas from the field of Global HOS were employed to integrate discussions about NOS and content in the form of four teaching and learning plans (TLPs) about topics from the year 8 (students aged 12-13) science curriculum in England. This experience, carried out during one school year, was analysed under a qualitative approach with the help of different methods of data generation (e.g. lesson observations, interviews, open-ended questionnaires, group mind maps, etc.). During this phase, the intercultural model of HOS fostered explicit discussions about NOS and content in a more integrated and dynamic style and the use of different culturally diverse histories of scientific development in the science lessons. This resulted in changes in students’ views about scientific communities, with a greater appreciation of the social and institutional dimensions of scientific work and their connection with epistemic aspects, and a broader understanding of participation and diversity in science. This collaborative work on the TLPs also impacted the participant teacher’s professional growth (in-development and in-practice) around the inclusion of NOS in his lessons and the use of whole-class discussions and planned questions as strategies to explore these ideas. In addition, his involvement with these TLPs also positively affected his self-perception as a teacher of subjects outside his specialism and his work on promoting these resources to other science teachers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Exploring and implementing an intercultural model of history of science to teach about nature of science
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Directorate
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079455
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