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Pusat Penelitian dan Pengembangan Pendidikan Matematika Realistik Indonesia Sekolah Tinggi Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan

Teachers understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice


The title of the article is “Teachers understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice: Factors that facilitate or impede the relationship”. This article is made by Norman G. Lederman who is currently Chair and Professor of Mathematics and Science Education at the Illnois Institute of Technology. He is known for his research on the development of students’ and teachers’ conceptions of nature of science and scientific inquiry. And I think, this article is one of his best works in his subject that he mastered.

In the theoretical background of this article, it started from Benchmarks for science literacy and the National science education standards’ statement. They gave a strong emphasis on the nature of science in students’ understanding. In science education, even though there are no general consensus exists at, researchers indicate some important aspects for students, such us tentative for scientific knowledge, empirically based, subjective, and so on. It seems clear that the theory has a support for explain the concept of science nowadays but there is still lack of explanation or previous research in teacher understanding or classroom practice of the nature of science.

The purpose of this article is identifying and investigating the factors that contribute to the complexity in nature. Whether teachers’ understanding of the nature of science is necessarily reflected in thinking of instruction and also classroom practice is an academic question. The researcher can facilitate the movement understanding of students in teachers’ classroom practice through the view of science education form. For the research question, there are two questions; (1) Do teachers’ understandings of the nature of science influence classroom practice? (2) What factors facilitate or impede the influence of teachers’ understandings in classroom practice? The relationship between the purpose and the question of the research show us the point of direction of this article seemed appropriate enough.

Five biology teachers, 3 males and 2 females, with some students in their biology class supported this research as a sample. It is a good sample because it has been explained in detail from the number of sample, gender, age, and also the experience of each teacher especially. It makes this research became more concrete in my eyes. It also makes viewpoint that people is formed by experience and their experience has made them to become they are now. This fact is really different with the condition in Indonesia. In Indonesia, people who became a teacher or lecturer feel it was likely a destiny for them. Ad also, so many people live in one profession only, from their graduation in one subject to pension time, they begin and finish in the same subject. They never think using their experience in one subject to be used in other subject.

There is a peculiar thing in my mind about whether the sample has represented the population or not. Because the students is came from the same school where the teacher come from, it should be the students that are used for this research is come from the same school and the same number for every teachers. Maybe it will influence the validity aspect for a little bit. But, if I think about it again, the way of taking sample and the number of students that different from each other might be able to give a broader picture of this research and that is happened because of the different samples.

Furthermore, I feel interested more in the reason of why gender is included in the requirement of sample characteristics. Maybe gender is necessary in this article considering to the difference of viewpoint of female and male. Sometimes female and male teachers when they face some cases in classroom activity have different views. For example, when there is a student who has a problem in the class, male teacher is usually rely on his vision seemed he made a distance between the student and himself. While a female teacher usually uses her touch besides her vision. When she touched a student while she ask or explain something, a student usually felt that her teacher is care with him. It is also can be said that this way encouraging a student to do the best in classroom practice.

Another thing is also interesting which are questions in questionnaire. The questions are really good and relevance with the purpose of this research. It made all teachers came up with the different answers depend on their knowledge in nature of science and classroom practice. It looks interesting, when I read the answer they seem honest and use their experience to overcome the question. Then, the other methods also relatively complete that can be used for perspective of female and male teachers. Started from the questionnaire, observation, interview, and so on made the important things are not miss by one research method because of supported by other methods. It means many methods that have been used are not made the research becomes complicated but it will clarify and support each other.

Various sources and types of data, for instance: interviews, observations, and instructional materials, allows for triangulation of data. From here, it can be seen that the results to be achieved is something relative. Logic and the idea that scientific knowledge is tentative and a lot of ideas in knowledge are to build an explanation for observed phenomena. So the logic of this study actually has the results for the depiction is not an assessment, not good or not bad but simply describes something. It is also often happened the different case in Indonesia. In Indonesia, the research is still done for the sake of a claim, good or bad, feasible or not feasible, and so forth. Knowledge is no longer regarded as absolute truth, but only tentative and dynamic.

Created by Ekasatya Aldila Afriansyah

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