Advertisement

Research in Science Education

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 435–462 | Cite as

Views about Physics held by Physics Teachers with Differing Approaches to Teaching Physics

  • Pamela Mulhall
  • Richard Gunstone
Article

Abstract

Physics teachers’ approaches to teaching physics are generally considered to be linked to their views about physics. In this qualitative study, the views about physics held by a group of physics teachers whose teaching practice was traditional were explored and compared with the views held by physics teachers who used conceptual change approaches. A particular focus of the study was teachers’ views about the role of mathematics in physics. The findings suggest the traditional teachers saw physics as discovered, close approximations of reality while the conceptual change teachers’ views about physics ranged from a social constructivist perspective to more realist views. However, most teachers did not appear to have given much thought to the nature of physics or physics knowledge, nor to the role of mathematics in physics.

Keywords

Physics teachers Views about physics Views about teaching physics Mathematics in physics 

References

  1. Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2005). Developing deeper understandings of nature of science: The impact of a philosophy of science course on preservice science teachers’ views and instructional planning. International Journal of Science Education, 27(1), 15–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abd-El-Khalick, F., & Lederman, N. G. (2000a). Improving science teachers’ conceptions of nature of science: A critical review of the literature. International Journal of Science Education, 22(7), 665–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abd-El-Khalick, F., & Lederman, N. G. (2000b). The influence of history of science courses on students’ views of nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(10), 1057–1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aguirre, J. M., Haggerty, S. M., & Linder, C. J. (1990). Student-teachers’ conceptions of science, teaching and learning: A case study in preservice science education. International Journal of Science Education, 12(4), 381–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Akerson, V. L., & Hanuscin, D. L. (2007). Teaching nature of science through inquiry: Results of a 3-year professional development program. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(5), 653–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baird, D., Scerri, E., & McIntyre, L. (2006). Introduction: The invisibility of chemistry. In D. Baird, E. Scerri & L. McIntyre (Eds.), Philosophy of chemistry: Synthesis of a new discipline (pp. 3–18). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  7. Bencze, L., & Elshof, L. (2003). Science teachers as metascientists: An inductive–deductive dialectic immersion in northern alpine field ecology. International Journal of Science Education, 26(12), 1507–1526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benson, G. D. (1989). Epistemology and science curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 21(4), 329–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brickhouse, N. W. (1989). The teaching of the philosophy of science in secondary classrooms: Case studies of teachers’ personal theories. International Journal of Science Education, 11(4), 437–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bronowski, J., & Mazlish, B. (1960). The Western intellectual tradition: From Leonardo to Hegel. London: Hutchinson & Co.Google Scholar
  11. Carr, M., Barker, M., Bell, B., Biddulph, F., Jones, A., Kirkwood, V., Pearson, J., & Symington, D. (1994). The constructivist paradigm and some implications for science content and pedagogy. In P. J. Fensham, R. F. Gunstone & R. T. White (Eds.), The content of science: A constructivist approach to its teaching and learning (pp. 147–160). London: The Falmer.Google Scholar
  12. Chalmers, A. F. (1982). What is this thing called science? (2nd ed.). St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press.Google Scholar
  13. Davies, P. (1991). What are the laws of nature? In J. Brockman (Ed.), Doing science (pp. 45–71). New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  14. de Souza Barros, S., & Elia, M. F. (1998). Physics teachers’ attitudes: How do they affect the reality of the classroom and models for change? In A. Tiberghien, E. L. Jossem & J. Barojas (Eds.), Connecting research in physics education with teacher education. Published by International Commission on Physics Education. Retrieved 19 August, 1998, from http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~jossem/ICPE/TOC.html.
  15. Driver, R., Asoko, H., Leach, J., Mortimer, E., & Scott, P. (1994). Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom. Educational Researcher, 23(7), 5–12.Google Scholar
  16. Driver, R., Leach, J., Millar, R., & Scott, P. (1996). Young peoples images of science. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Duschl, R. A., & Wright, E. (1989). A case study of high school teachers’ decision making models for planning and teaching science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26(6), 467–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fensham, P., Gunstone, R., & White, R. (1994). Part I. Science content and constructivist views of learning and teaching. In P. Fensham, R. Gunstone & R. White (Eds.), The content of science (pp. 1–8). London: The Falmer.Google Scholar
  19. Ford, K. W. (1989). Guest comment: Is physics difficult? American Journal of Physics, 57, 871–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gallagher, J. J. (1991). Prospective and practicing secondary school science teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about the philosophy of science. Science Education, 75(1), 121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Halliday, D., & Resnick, R. (1966). Physics, parts I and II (Combined ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  22. Hashweh, M. Z. (1996). Effects of science teachers’ epistemological beliefs in teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(1), 47–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hewson, P. W., Beeth, M. E., & Thorley, N. R. (1998). Teaching for conceptual change. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education. Part one (pp. 199–218). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  24. Hewson, P. W., & Hewson, M. G. A. B. (1989). Analysis and use of a task for identifying conceptions of teaching science. Journal of Education for Teaching, 15(3), 191–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hewson, P. W., Tabachnick, B. R., Zeichner, K. M., Blomker, K. B., Meyer, H., Lemberger, J., et al. (1999a). Educating prospective teachers of biology: Introduction and research methods. Science Education, 83(3), 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hewson, P. W., Tabachnick, B. R., Zeichner, K. M., & Lemberger, J. (1999b). Educating prospective teachers of biology: Findings, limitations, and recommendations. Science Education, 83(3), 373–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hodson, D. (1998). Teaching and learning science. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kagan, D. M. (1990). Ways of evaluating teacher cognition: Inferences concerning the Goldilocks Principle. Review of Educational Research, 60(3), 419–469.Google Scholar
  29. Keller, E. F. (2007). A clash of two cultures. Nature, 445(7128), 603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Koulaidis, V., & Ogborn, J. (1989). Philosophy of science: An empirical study of teachers’ views. International Journal of Science Education, 11(2), 173–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lakin, S., & Wellington, J. (1994). Who will teach the ‘nature of science’?: Teachers’ views of science and their implications for science education. International Journal of Science Education, 16(2), 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Leach, J., & Scott, P. (1999, August). Teaching and learning science: Linking individual and sociocultural perspectives. Paper presented at the Meeting of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction, Goteborg, Sweden.Google Scholar
  33. Lederman, N. G. (1992). Students’ and teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science: A review of the research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(4), 331–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lederman, N. G., Wade, P., & Bell, R. L. (1998). Assessing understanding of the nature of science: A historical perspective. In W. F. McComas (Ed.), The nature of science in science education: Rationales and strategies (pp. 331–350). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  35. Lederman, N. G., & Zeidler, D. L. (1987). Science teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science: Do they really influence teaching behavior? Science Education, 71(5), 721–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Linder, C. J. (1992). Is teacher-reflected epistemology a source of conceptual difficulty in physics? International Journal of Science Education, 14(1), 111–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Matthews, M. R. (1992). Constructivism and empiricism: An incomplete divorce. Research in Science Education, 22, 299–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mayr, E. (1988). Towards a new philosophy of biology: Observations of an evolutionist. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  39. McComas, W. F. (1998). The principle elements of the nature of science: Dispelling the myths. In W. F. McComas (Ed.), The nature of science in science education: Rationales and strategies (pp. 53–70). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  40. McKittrick, B., Mulhall, P., & Gunstone, R. (1999). Improving understanding in physics: An effective teaching procedure. Australian Science Teachers’ Journal, 45(3), 27–33.Google Scholar
  41. Mulhall, P. (2005). Physics teachers’ views about physics and learning and teaching physics. Unpublished PhD thesis, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria.Google Scholar
  42. Munby, H. (1982). The place of teachers’ beliefs in research on teacher thinking and decision making, and an alternative methodology. Instructional Science, 11, 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nott, M., & Wellington, J. (1996). Probing teachers’ views of the nature of science: How should we do it and where should we be looking? In G. Welford, J. Osborne & P. Scott (Eds.), Research in science education in Europe: Current issues and themes (pp. 283–293). London: The Falmer.Google Scholar
  44. Osborne, J. (1990). Sacred cows in physics – Towards a redefinition of physics education. Physics Education, 25(4), 189–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Osborne, R., & Freyberg, P. (1985). Learning in science: The implications of childrens science. Auchland, NZ: Heinemann Education.Google Scholar
  46. Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307–322.Google Scholar
  47. Pfundt, H., & Duit, R. (1994). Bibliography: Studentsalternative frameworks and science education (4th ed.). Kiel, Federal Republic of Germany: Institute for Science Education.Google Scholar
  48. Pomeroy, D. (1993). Implications of teachers’ beliefs about the nature of science: Comparison of the beliefs of scientists, secondary science teachers, and elementary teachers. Science Education, 77(3), 261–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Prawat, R. S. (1989). Teaching for understanding: Three key attributes. Teaching & Teacher Education, 5(4), 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Prawat, R. S. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning: A constructivist perspective. American Journal of Education, 100(3), 354–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rosenberg, A. (1985). The structure of biological science. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (1994). Mathematization of experience in a grade 8 open-inquiry environment: An introduction to the representational practices of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(3), 293–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Roth, W.-M., & Roychoudhury, A. (1994). Physics students’ epistemologies and views about knowing and learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31(1), 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ruse, M. (1988). Philosophy of biology today. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  55. Schwartz, R. S., & Lederman, N. G. (2002). “It’s the nature of the beast”: The influence of knowledge and intentions on learning and teaching nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(3), 205–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Scott, P. H., & Driver, R. H. (1998). Learning about science teaching: Perspectives from an action research project. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education. Part one (pp. 67–80). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  57. Stuewer (1997). History and physics. In A. Tiberghien, E. L. Jossem & J. Barojas (Eds.), Connecting research in physics education with teacher education. Published by International Commission on Physics Education. Retrieved 19 August, 1998, from http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~jossem/ICPE/TOC.html.
  58. Tobin, K. (1998). Issues and trends in the teaching of science. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education. Part one (pp. 129–151). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  59. Tobin, K., McRobbie, C., & Anderson, D. (1997). Dialectical constraints to the discursive practices of a high school physics community. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(5), 491–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tobin, K., & Tippins, D. (1993). Constructivism as a referent for teaching and learning. In K. Tobin (Ed.), The practice of constructivism in science education (pp. 3–21). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  61. Tobin, K., Tippins, D. J., & Gallard, A. J. (1994). Research on instructional strategies for science teaching. In D. L. Gabel (Ed.), Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp. 45–93). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  62. Tsai, C.-C. (2002). Nested epistemologies: Science teachers’ beliefs of teaching, learning and science. International Journal of Science Education, 24(8), 771–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tsai, C.-C. (2006). Biological knowledge is more tentative than physics knowledge: Taiwan high school adolescents’ views about the nature of biology and physics. Adolescence, 41(164), 691–703.Google Scholar
  64. Tsai, C.-C. (2007). Teachers’ scientific epistemological views: The coherence with instruction and students’ views. Science Education, 91, 222–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Veal, W. R. (1999, March 28–31). The TTF Model to explain PCK in teacher development. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  66. Wertheim, M. (1997). Pythagorastrousers. London: Fourth Estate.Google Scholar
  67. Wildy, H., & Wallace, J. (1995). Changing the variables: An experiment in physics teaching. Australian and New Zealand Physicist, 32(8, Suppl.), 1–5, 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

Personalised recommendations