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  See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: TEACHERS’ UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE OF SCIENCE AND THEIR VIEWSABOUT THE PRIMARY SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT STUDIES CURRICULUM Conference Paper  · January 2011 DOI: 10.13140/2.1.2946.9124 CITATIONS 0 READS 554 2 authors:Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects: Socioscientific Issues and Critical Studies in Science Education   View projectAmit SharmaTata Institute of Fundamental Research 5   PUBLICATIONS   3   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Sugra ChunawalaTata Institute of Fundamental Research 92   PUBLICATIONS   121   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE All content following this page was uploaded by Amit Sharma on 30 May 2014. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.  TEACHERS' UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE OF SCIENCE, AND THEIR VIEWS ABOUT THE PRIMARY SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT STUDIES CURRICULUM Amit Sharma and Sugra Chunawala Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, India amitshbcse!tifr!res!in , sugrachbcse!tifr!res!in  Generally there is a gap between the environment studies curriculum and its implementation in classrooms. The present study is aimed at learning about primary teachers' understanding about the nature of science and their views regarding the environment studies curriculum. A sample of 13 teachers from 2 Municipal orporation schools in !elhi M!#$ filled a %uestionnaire &# or were interviewed # on the same. Most teachers understand the nature of science as (scientific attitude or ways of thin)ing*. They preferred e+ploratory learning based te+t,boo)s to activity based te+t,boo)s for environment studies. Most teachers were  positive to the activity based teaching methodology but stated that the materials re%uired to  perform activities mentioned in te+t,boo)s$ should be provided in schools. Teachers reported that in M! schools$ most teachers do not get opportunities to attend science seminars. Teachers had a lot of confusion regarding evaluation in environment studies and were divided on whether science should be taught as a separate discipline or as environment studies. The study can be helpful to curriculum designers and te+t,boo) authors. INTRODUCTION It is generall obser#ed that researchers and authors carefull $re$are te%t boo&s for science or en#ironment studies in accordance with educational $olicies about curriculum, but when it comes to the im$lementation of these in classrooms, the theme behind a $articular curriculum is nowhere realised '(ood and )ewthwaite, *++-! Factors such as teacher beliefs, &nowledge, attitudes and com$etencies are critical agents to successful science $rogram deli#er ' )ewthwaite and .arrell, *++/- . Teachers $la a #er crucial role in the im$lementation of the curriculum in classroom and also ha#e their own #iews about science, en#ironment and the curriculum! '(ang, *++/0 (ah udi and Treagust, *++/-! There is $resentl much dissatisfaction with the le#els of teachers1 understandings of nature of science '23S- ')ederman, 4555-! 6reser#ice teachers1 #iews about the 23S according to 2uangchalerm, '*++5- can be $resented in terms of 'a- &nowledge construction0 science as a sub7ect that studies natural $henomena, as a bod of &nowledge, as en8uir $rocess, as a thin&ing $rocess and science as a descri$tion of moral and ethical issues 'b- in terms of $rocess of &nowledge construction0 obser#ation and e%$eriment lead to science if these are not $resent there is no science 'c- in terms of scientific enter$rise0 relationshi$ between science, technolog and societ !As defined b The Columbia Enc clo$aedia '459:- and cited b Siddi8ui and Siddi8ui, *++;, <Science is an accumulated and s stematised learning, in general uses restricted to natural $henomena! The $rogress of science is mar&ed not onl b an accumulation of facts, but b the emergence of scientific method and of the scientific attitude=! According to this definition, three basic $rinci$les of nature of science are identified and these were the basis of anal sis in this $a$er! The are> 'a- an accumulated and s stematised bod of &nowledge 'b- a scientific method of in#estigation 'c- and scientific attitude! 4  In South Africa, the $rimar school curriculum focuses on 23S as a learning outcome under the natural sciences learning area ')inneman, *++:-! As described in the 2ational Curricular Framewor& '2CF, *++;- of India, at the $rimar le#el of schooling, en#ironment studies as a sub7ect is de#elo$ed b integrating science and social studies! According to the 2CF '$$! /*?/:-, <At $rimar stage the child should be engaged in 7o full e%$loring the world around and harmonising with it! The ob7ecti#es at this stage are to nurture the curiosit of the child about the world 'natural en#ironment, artefacts and $eo$le-, to ha#e the child engaged in e%$lorator and hands on acti#ities to ac8uire the basic cogniti#e and $s chomotor s&ills through obser#ation, classification, inference, etc0 to em$hasise design and fabrication, estimation and measurement as a $relude to de#elo$ment of technological and 8uantitati#e s&ills of later stages0 and to de#elo$ the basic language s&ills> s$ea&ing, reading and writing not onl for science but also through science! Science and social science should be integrated as 1En#ironment studies1 as at $resent, with health as an im$ortant com$onent! Throughout the $rimar stage, there should be no formal $eriodic tests, no awarding of grades or mar&s, and no detention=! Sample A con#enience sam$ling method was used to select two Munici$al Cor$oration Schools in .elhi 'MC.-, where some contact alread e%isted! Eight teachers were drawn from one school and fi#e from the other! A 8uestionnaire was $re$ared that was filled b 9 teachers while @ teachers were inter#iewed b the researcher using the same 8uestionnaire! .etails of the teachers are gi#en in A$$endi%?4! 3f the 4: teachers, ; were female teachers and  were male and their ages ranged from **?;;! All the teachers taught all the sub7ects in a $articular class and onl four teachers had a science bac&ground! Regarding science seminars onl two teachers had e#er attended these! Tools a! A!m  s#$a# o i- The inter#iew $roforma?cum?8uestionnaire had o$en?ended 8uestions related to> 'a- teacher1s understanding about nature of science 'b- teachers1 sources of information about im$lementation of new curriculum of en#ironment science 'c- teachers1 #iews about the new en#ironmental studies te%t boo&s, 'which are based on e%$lorator learning- 'd- the methodolog of teaching the would $refer to use for a selected cha$ter 'e- their wa s of com$aring en#ironment studies te%t?boo&s based on acti#ities #s those based on e%$lorator learning 'f- the relationshi$ $ercei#ed between methodolog described in the te%tboo& and 8uestions as&ed in e%aminations 'g- and teachers1 $erce$tions about good science teaching! The content #alidation was done with two sub7ect e%$erts and one language e%$ert! ii- The 8uestion $a$er used in one of these schools 'School no! *- for final e#aluation of students in en#ironment studies was also obtained! This $a$er was used to $ro#ide insight into teachers1 $erce$tions about the relationshi$ between the methodolog described in te%t?boo&s and the actual test?$a$er! iii- The en#ironment studies te%t?boo& 'Class I- being used in MC. schools is <  Aaspaas = 'loo&ing around-, while the earlier class I En#ironment studies te%t?boo& was <  -hoen  Aaspas* 'searching around- . These two boo&s were used to get com$arati#e #iews from teachers about acti#it based en#ironment studies curriculum 'earlier curriculum- and the e%$lorator learning based te%t?boo&s '$resent curriculum-!The boo& <  Aaspas = has been de#elo$ed b 2ational Council of Education Research and Training '2CERT-, $ublished b .elhi Te%tboo& Bureau '.TB-, and ado$ted b State *  Council for Educational Research and Training, 'SCERT-, .elhi as a te%t boo& for en#ironment studies education at $rimar le#el in .elhi state! The boo& has been de#elo$ed on the guidelines of 2CF *++;, following its recommendation to % lin) children's life at school to their life outside the school*. The te%t boo& also e%$ects from school $rinci$als and teachers to (encourage children to reflect on their own learning and to pursue imaginative activities and %uestions*. The foreword re$orts that it is % giving priority and space to opportunities for contemplation and wondering$ discussion in small groups$ and activities re%uiring hands,on e+perience*. The boo& e%$ects children to get (opportunities to e+plore$ observe$ draw$ categorise$ spea)$ %uestion$ write$ list... manipulate things with his/her hands so that his/her psycho,motor s)ills are developed*. It was found that the boo& has been actuall de#elo$ed for an integrated curriculum of science, social studies, and en#ironmental education, but in MC. schools, se$arate boo&s for En#ironment studies and Social studies are being used at $resent!  -hoen Aaspas$ was the earlier boo& used in all the $rimar schools run b MC., and .elhi Administration! The boo& was de#elo$ed b SCERT, .elhi, and $ublished b .TB, in accordance to the 2ational 6olic of Education, 459! 3ther institutions that had hel$ed in de#elo$ment of these boo&s were E&la# a, Bho$al, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, and Centre for Science Education and Communication, .elhi! In the $reface, the boo& states that, (teachers of small children will feel that these boo)s$ minutely embrace children's psychology and daily e+periences$ communicate )nowledge of different subects in an active manner.... 0n writing these boo)s$ special attention has been given to children of wea)er classes$ especially girls. Through simple activities an attempt has been made to lin) )nowledge about language$ mathematics$ science and social studies to natural activities of children. The te+t,boo)s will play a maor role in implementation of  policy of ma)ing education interesting and effective*. Sele&# o o &(ap#e$ #o #e$) e* #ea&(e$s To select a cha$ter to inter#iew teachers, the criteria chosen was the e%$licitness of acti#ities suggested to students in the te%t?boo& of en#ironment studies <  Aaspas* oo)ing Around# ! It was found that the cha$ter?4 halo halen chool 'oing to School-, cha$ter?45 adoon )a  aal '(eb of Roots-, and cha$ter?*; < hatpati 4aheliyaan* 'S$ic Riddles-   re8uires children to $erform certain acti#ities that can be done in school! 3ut of these, the cha$ter?45 adoon )a aal '(eb of roots- was selected! This cha$ter howe#er was onl a $art of the inter#iew! The inter#iew also co#ered other as$ects li&e 23S, and sources of information about im$lementation of new curriculum, $erce$tions about good science teaching etc! Ma#e$ als $e+ $e! o$ #ea&( - #(e &(ap#e$ A list of materials re8uired for $erforming the $rescribed acti#ities in the cha$ter was $re$ared b the inter#iewer, such as, te%tboo&, trees, shrubs, glass, cotton, rubber?bands, thread, seeds '$ulses or wheat or mustard or gram etc!-! It is to be noted that the materials re8uired b the cha$ter were those of dail use, and are e%$ected to be a#ailable at general stores! The lists were obtained because teachers often state that acti#ities are not conducted as materials are not a#ailable in schools! Vee o I#e$) e* a! .es# oa $e/ The inter#iews with si% teachers were conducted inside school no!4 during the distribution of :
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