Science Education Research in International Settings

CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM TEACHERS AND STUDENTS’ VIEWS OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION: IMPLICATIONS FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION

Saouma BouJaoude, Professor and Director of the Center of Teaching and Learning, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Despite the overwhelming and global acceptance of evolutionary theory by the scientific community, teaching evolution continues to be socially controversial, primarily because of its perceived conflict with personal religious beliefs. Although different Muslim and Christian religious sects have distinct positions on evolution, it remains an apparent challenge to certain religious accounts of creation in both religions. Egypt and Lebanon are two Middle Eastern countries with a majority of Muslims and sizeable Christian communities, and present opportunities to investigate the interaction between science and religion. This presentation reports findings from a series of studies that investigated college and high school teachers’ and students’ views about evolution in Egypt and Lebanon with an emphasis on the similarities and differences between and within Christian and Muslim groups.

EVALUATING JUNIOR SECONDARY SCIENCE TEXTBOOK USAGE IN AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL

Christine McDonald, Lecturer in Science Education, Griffith University, Mt. Gravatt, Australia.

Providing engaging learning experiences in K-12 science classrooms is crucial for continued engagement with science. Time and resource constraints, and the high proportion of non-specialist science teachers, have resulted in an over-reliance on transmissive pedagogical tools, such as textbooks. This study evaluated the usage of science textbooks in junior secondary Australian schools. Results indicated that most junior secondary schools use textbooks to drive instruction for the majority of science lessons. Most respondents expressed high levels of satisfaction with their textbooks, although many stressed the subsidiary role of these textbooks. Importantly, respondents stressed the benefits of textbooks in supporting substitute teachers, beginning teachers, and non-specialist science teachers; and facilitating continuity of programs and staff support in schools with high staff turnover. The study highlights the need for high quality textbooks in Australian junior secondary science classes.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHEMISTRY TEACHER EDUCATION

Christiane S. Reiners, Professor of Chemistry and Chemistry Education, Head of the Institute of Chemistry Education, University of Cologne, Germany.

A central task of teachers is the transformation of science content into learning content. To transform chemistry into a learning object, teachers have to take into account both the students and intended aim of the learning process. Our research focuses on supporting future teachers to diagnose students’ perceptions in formal and informal learning environments, and developing methods of differentiation to address diverse learners. Toward that end, we pay close attention to student teachers’ own conceptions of chemistry content, and their meta-knowledge about chemistry as a discipline. Assuming that teachers teach as they have been taught, but not as they have been taught to teach, we discuss our systematic attempts to develop curricular and instructional innovations in chemistry teacher education to empower teachers to transform the enactment of the precollege chemistry curricula in Germany.

CONCEPTUAL AND EMPIRICAL TRENDS FOR SOCIOSCIENTIFIC ISSUES AND SCIENTIFIC LITERACY

Dana L. Zeidler, Professor and Coordinator of Science Education, Past President of NARST, University of South Florida–Tampa.

An overview of current conceptual and empirical trends for the interplay between socioscientific issues (SSI) and scientific literacy will be discussed. The presentation draws on a comprehensive review of the literature consisting of over 250 references related to aspects of SSI. Special emphasis will be given to the normative values that undergird the SSI framework through four themes. These are socioscientific as (1) Engagement of curriculum practice and teachers’ pedagogical beliefs; (2) Epistemological development and reasoning; (3) Context for the nature of science; and (4) Character development and citizenship responsibility.