Understanding Issues of Pre-service Teachers Reviewing High School Science Laboratory Reports Submitted to an On-line Publishing Environment

By G. Michael Bowen and Anthony Bartley.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

The concept of "authentic" science classrooms may require re-framing because in implementing such classrooms, many aspects of actual science communities are often misrepresented, if not missed entirely. In our view, the most problematic areas are that they little represent both the long-term and (scientific) community-oriented aspect of science communities and the (conservative) manner by which these communities affirm advances in knowledge. As a result, one can be concerned that K-12 students, both explicitly and implicitly, are not developing a well-grounded understanding of either enacted science practices or the Nature of Science. Undergraduate science students (in other words, those who become secondary science teachers) rarely experience any aspect of the actual practices of science communities in their undergraduate degree, engaging science mostly through "cookbook" laboratory activities and lectures. As a consequence, undergraduates from science programs do not possess strong skills with canonical use of inscriptions, have a narrow view of what scientific inquiry is, and do not in general possess a comprehensive understanding of the Nature of Science; these shortcomings affects their future teaching practices.
The “formative assessment” approach to providing feedback on student work, which involves detailed comments but no grade, is infrequently practiced as part of the pre-service experience despite the strengths such approaches are found to have, and little research exists on how student teachers engage such a task. This research paper – drawn from a project designed to address the above issues involving poor understanding of science practices, the Nature of Science, and use of inscriptions – analyzes the feedback given to high school student authors of science investigation papers submitted to an on-line journal and reviewed by pre-service secondary science teachers. A subsequent interview with the student teachers provided further context for their practices. Findings suggest that earlier studies reporting difficulties encountered by student teachers in using inscriptions and arguing from data in their own research projects are further substantiated in this study by the preservice teachers’ reviews of high school student papers in which they missed significant issues in the representation of data and the impact of those issues on subsequent claims of findings.

Keywords: Science Education, Technology, Preservice Teacher Education, Sociology of Science, Publishing

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp.45-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 702.681KB).

Prof. G. Michael Bowen

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Prof. Bowen has worked in science education for over a decade. He is interested in how one improves both student and overall cultural science literacy. His recent research involves understanding how to help student teachers gain an improved and enacted understanding of science investigation practices.

Anthony Bartley

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Anthony Bartley has been interested in learning in Physics and Chemistry education and the preparation of teachers in those disciplines for over fifteen years. He has previously published in areas of formative assessment and teacher education.


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