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Nature of Science Contextualized: Studying Nature of Science with Scientists
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. University of Helsinki, Finland.
2015 (English)In: Science & Education, ISSN 0926-7220, E-ISSN 1573-1901, Vol. 24, no 4, 435-457 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding nature of science (NOS) is widely considered an important educational objective and views of NOS are closely linked to science teaching and learning. Thus there is a lively discussion about what understanding NOS means and how it is reached. As a result of analyses in educational, philosophical, sociological and historical research, a worldwide consensus about the content of NOS teaching is said to be reached. This consensus content is listed as a general statement of science, which students are supposed to understand during their education. Unfortunately, decades of research has demonstrated that teachers and students alike do not possess an appropriate understanding of NOS, at least as far as it is defined at the general level. One reason for such failure might be that formal statements about the NOS and scientific knowledge can really be understood after having been contextualized in the actual cases. Typically NOS is studied as contextualized in the reconstructed historical case stories. When the objective is to educate scientifically and technologically literate citizens, as well as scientists of the near future, studying NOS in the contexts of contemporary science is encouraged. Such contextualizations call for revision of the characterization of NOS and the goals of teaching about NOS. As a consequence, this article gives two examples for studying NOS in the contexts of scientific practices with practicing scientists: an interview study with nanomodellers considering NOS in the context of their actual practices and a course on nature of scientific modelling for science teachers employing the same interview method as a studying method. Such scrutinization opens rarely discussed areas and viewpoints to NOS as well as aspects that practising scientists consider as important.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 24, no 4, 435-457 p.
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117441DOI: 10.1007/s11191-014-9738-2ISI: 000352742900004OAI: diva2:813124


Available from: 2015-05-21 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2015-05-21Bibliographically approved

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Vesterinen, Veli-Matti
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