Images of the Scientist Held by Educators in Greece

By Vassilia Hatzinikita.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The research on the image of the scientist, as conceived by non-specialists (such as students and educators), has displayed a series of stereotypical characteristics in their representations of the members of the scientific community and the nature of their activity. The conceptions the educators handle of science and scientists play an important role in the construction of the students’ representations of these matters, as these conceptions form a ‘hidden curriculum’, which affects decisively their teaching practices. In this way, the educators who adopt stereotypical images of the scientists and their activity tend to have a negative impact on the students’ attitude towards science and scientists, which affects the future personal, professional and social choices of the students. The purpose of the present study is to explore the images of the scientist as they are depicted in the drawings of educators. In particular, this study aims to explore the extent to which the stereotypical model of the scientist is possessed by the educators and the type of activities considered scientific, according to educators’ sex, represented scientist’s sex and the level of education the educators are employed in. The interest of this study lies in the fact that there are hardly any other pieces of similar research conducted in Greece, although they would be necessary because they could become a decisive first step in designing teachers’ preparation programs (e.g. syllabus and educational material) in a way that the educators could form a more relevant, meaningful and egalitarian image of science and the scientist as well as improve their attitudes towards them. The methodology employed in data collection and analysis is a modified version of the ‘Draw A Scientist Test’ (‘DAST’, Chambers, 1983; She, 1998). The DAST was administered to ninety-five (95) educators of primary, secondary and tertiary education and vocational training. Each educator was originally asked to draw a male or female scientist in their workroom before they produced a second drawing representing a scientist of the opposite sex. The analysis of these drawings shows that the educators hold stereotypical images. Moreover, there are some interesting findings concerning the impact of educators’ sex and level of education they are employed in on the image of the scientist they hold as well as on the type of activities considered scientific.

Keywords: Educators, Gender, Science, Scientific Activity, Scientist, Scientist’s Image

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp.145-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 573.279KB).

Prof. Vassilia Hatzinikita

Academic Coordinator of the Master in Education, School of Humanities, Hellenic Open University, Sahtouri, Patras, Greece

Associate Professor Vassilia Hatzinikita is currently an academic coordinator of the Master in Education in the Hellenic Open University and a coordinator of Educational Research in Action module. Her research interests concern science teaching and learning as well as the analysis and development of educational materials. She has published a considerable number of research papers in journals, books and conference proceedings and has developed educational material for the Science Education module of the Hellenic Open University.


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