Science & Education

, Volume 27, Issue 3–4, pp 321–355 | Cite as

Impact of Chinese Culture on Pre-service Science Teachers’ Views of the Nature of Science

  • Dongsheng Wan
  • Hongshia Zhang
  • Bing Wei


This study examines Chinese pre-service teachers’ (N = 30) views on the nature of science (NOS) and how Chinese culture influences their views. Participants were from two teachers’ universities in eastern China. As an exploratory and interpretive study, a scenario-based interview approach was adopted. The results indicated that the participants held unique views about the five key aspects of NOS. Many participants have alternative and contemporary views of NOS, but few possess classical views. In fact, teachers adopted features of the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean either consciously or unconsciously to account for their views of NOS. This research reflects that the Doctrine of the Mean affected Chinese teachers’ views of NOS, making them rather deficient in their understandings of classical NOS. Based on empirical data, it is argued that science teacher training in China should focus on the content and objectives of classical NOS, rather than just teaching contemporary views of NOS. Taking Chinese culture into consideration, science teacher education in China cannot entirely import the strategies of teaching the classical views of NOS from the developed world, but should develop, design and contextualize local strategies that are suitable for the training of Chinese science teachers. Some issues for further investigation of learners’ views of NOS in non-Western contexts are suggested as implications from this study.


Pre-service science teachers Views of the nature of science Nature of science (NOS) Chinese culture 



The authors express their gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive and comprehensive comments on earlier versions of our manuscript. The authors also thank Dr. Subramaniam Ramanathan and Dr. Tan Kok Siang for their help in polishing the language of this article. This research is sponsored by the “Qing Lan Project” from Jiangsu Province, China.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education ScienceJiangsu Second Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institution of EducationNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationThe University of MacauMacauChina

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