Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Improving science education in Europe - Survey: 'Teachers' images of science'

This study was conducted on the assumption that the development of a reasonable image of science must be an objective of science teaching. This argument is put forward for cultural reasons, and for democratic reasons. To understand science should be integral part of a “modern” education for the average citizen, particularly as part of a contemporary European democracy in which citizens should be able to understand scientific results as presented in the mass media, and even participate with some competence in political decisions with scientific aspects.

Teachers have a special place in communicating an image of science to their students. It is therefore important to know something of the images of science drawn upon by teachers. To this end, responses to 10 survey questions were collected and analysed from a sample of 145 teachers from Italy and France.

From the responses to these questions, a questionnaire for research could be elaborated and some tentative conclusions be drawn about the common core of images of science of the teachers in the sample:
- Scientific research is founded on a method, which requires sound observations and controllable experiments.

- In the interpretation of experiments, scientists are guided by theoretical assumptions.

- Empirical investigation is needed to confirm the scientific validity of any statement.

- Conflicting interpretation of data may be due to an inadequate experiment design, to theoretical commitments (most of the University teachers) or to problems of data analysis (most of school teachers).

For the given sample, differences between the ideas proposed by teachers at the school and university levels, were generally not very strong. Further research would be of great interest in this direction.

Reported by

Universite de Paris-Sud XI
Rue Georges Clemenceau
91405 Orsay
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