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Selective traditions in group discussions – teachers’ views about good science and the possible obstacles when encountering a new topic
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3386-3411
Uppsala Universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8036-6245
(English)In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, ISSN 1871-1502, E-ISSN 1871-1510Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

There is an ongoing discussion about what content that should be taught in science education and there are different views among teachers about what represent good science content. However, teachers are not isolated individuals making their own interpretations, but are part of institutionalised systems building on patterns in the selection of teaching goals and content. Earlier research shows that teachers teach in alignment with different selective traditions, which can be understood as well-developed teaching habits. Individual teachers seem to develop their personal habits on the basis of the contextual situations created by earlier generations of teachers.

In order to find out which content teachers find representative for science education, we asked nine teachers to take part in group interviews to talk about what they value as “good” science content. The participants were grouped according to their selective traditions expressed in earlier studies. The method was used to dynamically explore, challenge and probe teachers views.

The starting point for the group discussions is national tests in science. In Sweden, national tests in biology, physics and chemistry were introduced in secondary school science (Year 9) in 2009. One overarching aim of these tests is to support the implementation of the science curricula and to include for example knowledge about socio-scientific issues (SSI). The content of the tests can consequently be seen as important for teachers to consider.

The findings show on the one hand that the individual science teachers choose science content in alignment with an earlier categorisation illustrated in a selective tradition study. On the other hand, teachers seem to return to a scientific rational discourse when they discuss questions in the tests relating to socio-scientific issues. The results are discussed in relation to the issue that teachers seem to be more comfortable when working with traditional science content but also in relation to the finding about how teachers’ selective traditions appear to become less visible in group discussions.

Keyword [en]
science education, content, selective traditions, teachers’ views, socio scientific issues
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
naturvetenskapernas och teknikens didaktik
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-29135DOI: 10.1007/s11422-016-9768-yScopus ID: 2-s2.0-84997170494OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-29135DiVA: diva2:856846
Projects
Nationella prov i biologi, fysik och kemi: eventuell betydelse för lärares undervisning och bedömning
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-09-25 Created: 2015-09-25 Last updated: 2016-11-29Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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