Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 1, Issue 1, Article 1 (July, 2000)
Teaching about Science Teaching and Learning:research should inform practice
Throughout the 1980's there was an ever growing research literature that explored the way in which school students developed an understanding (or misunderstanding) of science. Gunstone and White (1980; 1981), Tasker (1981), Osborne and Freyburg (1985), Champagne et al, (1985), Treagust (1986) and Gunstone (1990) and many others, highlighted the importance of knowing about, and responding to, students' conceptions of science in school science teaching and learning. Fortunately, much of this development in understanding about how students interpreted their science learning influenced science teacher education but sadly, to a lesser extent, science teaching in schools.
Science teacher education programs began to use this research in curriculum formulation (as illustrated by Carr and Symington, 1991). Importantly, this research also created a need to reconceptualise and better link students' learning of science with the teaching of prospective science teachers. Therefore, in many ways it can be argued that a confluence of events, research interests, and educational changes toward the end of the 1980's combined to create the approaches to Science Teacher Education that exist in Australia today. However, it is important that an understanding of this research should similarly influence school science teaching and learning. If students' misconceptions about science are not appropriately challenged so that their understanding of the concepts is enhanced, then in a real sense, the teaching that they experience has little impact on their science understanding and therefore only reinforces the stereotypes (outlined earlier) that characterises much of the community's impressions of science teaching and learning.
It is therefore important that in schools the level of engagement in science learning that students' experience needs to be better understood by teachers and researchers if some of these changes in understanding are to occur.
Copyright (C) 2000 HKIEd APFSLT. Volume 1, Issue 1, Article 1 (July, 2000)