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EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND LEARNING CONCEPTIONS IN SCIENCE TEACHERS Ma. Xóchitl Bonilla Pedroza Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Leticia Gallegos Cázares Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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  • Slide 1
  • EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND LEARNING CONCEPTIONS IN SCIENCE TEACHERS Ma. Xchitl Bonilla Pedroza Universidad Pedaggica Nacional Leticia Gallegos Czares Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico
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  • Introduction Research about the NOS has increased in the last decades and results show that such analysis is fruitful to understand science teachers conceptions and practice. However the expected causal relationship between teachers conceptions about the NOS and their teaching practices has not yet been soundly established. One of these relationships that needs attention is the influence of the teachers conceptions about the NOS on their learning conceptions.
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  • Considerations The influence of epistemological theories in the development of learning theories has been recognized and it is possible to identify correlations between theories. Teachers conceptions about Learning of Science (LOS) differently of NOS have received less attention. We consider, however, that teaching practice is greatly influenced by teachers combined conceptions about the NOS and the LOS.
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  • Research questions: What are the NOS and LOS conceptions of secondary (junior high school) science teachers in Mexico? Are there any relationships between NOS and LOS conceptions? How do these conceptions influence the teaching practice in the classroom?
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  • To identify NOS teachers conception we used the following categories NOS Empiricism (E) Logical positivism (LP) Rationalism (R) Critical Rationalism (RC) C onstructivism or Relativism (C)
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  • To identify LOS teachers conceptions we used the following categories LOS Associationism (A) Discovery learning (D) Maningful learning(S) Constructivism (C)
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  • Methodology Population: 313 secondary science teachers in urban schools in the state of Morelos in Mexico. Questionnaires: One NOS (11 items) and one LOS (8 items) questionnaire was answered by all teachers. Each question has multiple choices corresponding to each epistemological or learning position and teachers are asked to justify their answers. Interviews. 16 teachers were interviewed in order to clarify their answers to the questionnaires Class observation. 16 teachers were observed (still in analysis)
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  • An example of the NOS questionnaire 1.- The main role of observation in the generation of scientific knowledge is: To generate knowledge and generalize perceptions---------------------------------( ) To prove the organization and logical coherence of theory--------------------------( ) To confirm the personal ideas of the researchers--------------------------------------( ) To enlarge the data base in order to refuse a theory-------------------------------------( ) To enlarge the data base in order to confirm a theory----------------------------------( ) Another? ________________ Please justify your selection ____________
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  • An example of the LOS questionnaire 8. As science teacher your most important objective regarding your students is that they: Acquire scientific information -------------------------------------------------------------------( ) Transform their representations of reality ---------------------------------------------------( ) Learn the meaning of concepts ----------------------------------------------------------------( ) Discover scientific laws --------------------------------------------------------------------------( ) Another? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------( ) Please justify your selection ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________
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  • Data analysis: NOS categories The empiricist teacher believes that knowledge is universal and a copy of reality, the process of knowledge is induction method. The logical positivist teacher thinks that knowledge corresponds to reality and the process of knowledge follows only logical rules. The rationalist teacher mainly thinks that knowledge is universal and the process of knowing follows rational processes. The critical rationalism teacher is oriented to a falsationist approach but holds correspondence with reality. The constructivist teacher thinks that knowledge is not identical to reality and the process of knowing is the result of a social construction.
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  • Data analysis: LOS categories The teacher oriented to associationism thinks that learning means to acquire information through a process of stimulus-response. The learning by discovery teacher thinks mainly that some conditions and hands on activities are necessary. The teacher oriented to meaningful learning, mainly thinks that learning is to incorporate hierarchical and meaningful concepts. The teacher oriented to constructivism mainly thinks that learning is a personal (or social) construction that has the function of providing with a specific view of the world.
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  • Data analysis: cluster and profiles Based on a method developed by Gallegos and Garritz (2006) which is inspired on Bachelard (1984) and Mortimer (1995) we used a cluster analysis of the profiles of groups of students. The steps are: Determine the profiles of each student Apply a cluster analysis Select the more representative profile for each group
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  • In order to show both profiles (NOS and LOS), profiles are shown in a graph.
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  • Results: Percentage of population by cluster (NOS and LOS Cluster Number of teachersPercentage 13110 % 2217% 3217% 4299% 54815% 64815% 73511% 83712% 942% 103912% Totales313100%
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  • Epistemological and learning teachers preferences by each cluster ClusterNOSLOS 148E, 27PL, 5R, 11RC, 6C19A, 27D, 49S, 5C 251E, 29PL, 5R, 8RC, 5C13A, 62D, 21S, 4C 321E, 59PL, 4R, 7RC, 9C24A, 35D, 22S, 19C. 422E, 45PL, 9R, 8RC, 13C11A, 14D, 49S, 25C. 523E, 26PL, 11R, 17RC, 21C9A, 15D, 14S, 61C 633E, 18PL, 8R, 13RC, 25C28A, 15D, 29S, 26C 749E, 29PL, 6R, 6RC, 12C;18A, 14D, 20S, 47C 829E, 25PL, 6R, 17RC, 23C11A, 49D, 11S, 28C 961E, 30PL, 2R, 2RC, 2C63A, 34D, 3S, 0C. 1021E, 32PL, 10R, 10RC, 25C27A, 22D, 15S, 37C.
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  • Correlations between NOS and LOS teachers conceptions Four different groups or trends can be identified from the cluster analysis: Group I shows less strong correlations between NOS and LOS Group II shows strong correlations between NOS and LOS Group III shows weak correlations between NOS and LOS Group IV shows exact correlations between NOS and LOS (but includes a very small number of teacher of the sample)
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  • I) Three clusters (1, 2, and 3) show a correlation between constructivism, critical rationalism, rationalism and learning constructivism (24% of the sample) also between logical positivism with discovery learning; and meaningful learning with empiricism.
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  • Cluster I Configuracin de estmulos derivada Modelo de distancia eucldea Dimensin 1 Dimensin 2 1.5 1.0.5 0.0 -.5 cc s d a c rc r pl e
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  • II) In three clusters (4, 6 and 7) the main correlation is between critical rationalism, rationalism, cosntructivism, learning by discovery and associationism. Also appear a correlation between logical positivism with meaningful learning and empiricism with constructivism learning.
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  • Configuracin de estmulos derivada Modelo de distancia eucldea Dimensin 1 Dimensin 2 1.5 1.0.5 0.0 -.5 cc d ac rc r e pl s pl, s Cluster II
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  • III) Three clusters (5, 8 and 10) have a correlation between rationalism, critical rationalism, assotiationism and meaningful learning (39% of the sample).
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  • Cluster III
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  • IV) Only one small cluster (9) shows correspondence between empiricism with associationism; between logical positivism with learning by discovery; and both constructivism, both rationalism and meaningful leanrning.
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  • Cluster IV
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  • Teachers answers with empiricism and associationism perspectives NOSLOS Empiricism Associationism Science is the way to get real knowledge experiments help us to confirm the theory and it is part of the scientific method and at last we reach the reality. Science gives us knowledge that is real. The students answer in the same way I explain them. It is not usual that they make other kind of explanations. When we check their answers they expand the information and at the end I give them a summary of the class. I want they to learn general concepts.
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  • Teachers answers with constructivist perspectives in NOS and LOS Knowledge is a relative truth as long as we do not find theories that deny it. The theories are subjected to many proofs it is possible that different explanations exist. I make some questions to know what are their ideas, or if they have heard something about it, or if they recognize anything. They need to compare their ideas with some readings, we analyze the texts and get out the main ideas. They write these ideas in their notebooks. We make different activities: experiments, problem solving. They talk with their peers about their results and ideas, I try that they reach an agreement.
  • Slide 28
  • CONCLUSIONS The NOS profile of the sample shows a general preference for empiricism and logical positivism positions and these are related with all the 4 possible LOS categories as has been described in the groups obtained from the cluster analysis. In 2 of the groups described (II and III) the constructivist epistemological position is present and can be related to any of the learning positions (74% of the sample). In 2 of the groups described (I and IV), there is a strong correlation between constructivist positions (26% of the sample)
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  • CONCLUSIONS Teachers seem to be closer to the current pedagogical discourse in terms of their LOS conceptions than in their NOS conceptions. In general, results show a weak relationship between NOS and LOS teachers profiles. A possible cause is that teachers do not clearly differentiate between epistemological and cognitive positions and their answers to questionnaires reflect only declarative knowledge which does not necessarily relate to their teaching practice.
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  • CONCLUSIONS Further research with a deeper approach is necessary, specially regarding teachers actions in the classroom.