Abd-El-Khalick, F., & Lederman, N.G. (2000). Improving science teachers' conceptions of the nature of science: A critical review of the literature. International Journal of Science Education, 22:7, p.665-701. (EJ610437)
"This paper aimed to review, and assess the ‘effectiveness’ of the attempts undertaken to improve prospective and practising science teachers’ conceptions of nature of science (NOS). The reviewed attempts could be categorized into two general approches: implicit and explicit. Implicit attempts utilized science process-skills instruction or engagement in science-based inquiry activities to improve science teachers’ conceptions of NOS. To achieve the same goal, explicit attempts used instruction geared towards various aspects of NOS and/or instruction that utilized elements from history and philosophy of science."
"To the extent that teachers’ NOS conceptions were faithfully assessed by the
instruments used in the reviewed studies, the explicit approach was relatively more effective in enhancing teachers’ views. The relative ineffectiveness of the implicit approach could be attributed to two inherent assumptions. The first is that developing an understanding of NOS is an ‘affective’, as compared to a ‘cognitive’, learning outcome. The second ensuing assumption is that learners would necessarily develop understandings of NOS as a by-product of engaging in science-realated activities.
However, despite the relative ‘effectiveness’ of the explicit approach, much is still required in terms of fostering among science teachers ‘desired’ understandings of NOS. The paper emphasizes that explicitness and reflectivness should be given prominence in any future attempts aimed at improving teachers’ concepts of NOS."
"Most recently, the National Science Education Standards (NRC,1996) have emphasized the historical, tentative, empirical, logical, and well-substantiated nature of scientific claims. Also emphasized were the values of scepticism and open communication, as well as the interaction between personal, societal and cultural beliefs in the generation of scientific knowledge." p.668
"Applied to teaching about NOS, PCK would include, in addition to an adequate understanding of various aspects of NOS, knowledge of a wide range of related examples, activities, illustrations, explanations, demonstrations, and historical episodes." p.692
The authors discuss the importance of addressing teachers' misconceptions about NOS before they can engage students. This is a large task, one that museums can help with. I kept thinking how the case files are so ripe for the picking for helping teachers appreciate NOS by direct, hands-on work with the primary source documents.
This sprawling, epic review of the literature seems thorough and comprehensive. Yet, museum education efforts are not considered.