Teaching nature of science (NOS) has taken root in science education in Hong Kong. Its appearance can be traced back to the implementation of the revised junior secondary science curriculum (grades 7 to 9) (CDC, 1998), emphasize that schools students should be “able to appreciate and understand the evolutionary nature of scientific knowledge” (p. 3). Such an emphasis on NOS was reinforced in the revised secondary 4 and 5 (grade 10 and 11) physics, chemistry, and biology curricula (CDC, 2002) and the recently implemented senior secondary curricula (CDC-HKEAA, 2007). NOS has been a prominent area of active research in science education in the Western countries for a number of decades, where the science education practitioners’ views of NOS education can, to some extent, be informed in the literature. However, little is known about how the teaching of NOS is perceived by the practitioners in the non-western cultures. This study investigated thirteen Hong Kong in-service teachers’ views of the values of teaching NOS through a semi-structured interview. A number of values of teaching NOS were identified, consisting of (i) facilitating the learning of subject knowledge, (ii) developing thinking ability, (iii) arousing the interest in learning science, (iv) cultivating appropriate attitudes towards science, (v) helping the evaluation of science-related claims in socio-scientific issues, (vi) preparing for public examination, and (vii) enhancing the understanding of the real practice in scientific world. Compared with the western literature and another study (Wan, Wong, & Yung, 2011) of the values of teaching NOS as perceived by Chinese science teacher educators, it was found that (i) although a number of values were perceived within the context of science learning, less values were found from the broader social and cultural perspectives; (ii) the average number of the values suggested by the teachers was fewer than that of science teacher educators reported in Wan et al. (2012); and (iii) public examination played an important role in Hong Kong teachers’ conception of teaching NOS. Suggestions will be made for designing programs to prepare teachers for teaching NOS.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2013|