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Title: Towards a constructivist model for science teacher education
Author: Thomaz, Marita Duarte Canhao da Silva Pereira Fernandes
ISNI:       0000 0001 3527 0586
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1986
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The study reported in this thesis is of an attempt to get some insight into two under-explored areas - the practice of a constructivist approach in science teacher education and in the teaching of science. An overview of the Portuguese Educational System is presented with the purpose of identifying the context within which this study was conducted. A preliminary study aimed at investigating reasons accounting for pupils' attitudes towards "physics" and "physics teaching and learning" is reported. From it, evidence is obtained supporting the view that a "cultural transmission" perspective underlies current physics teaching. A constructivist approach to physics education is proposed as a fruitful alternative to the prevalent practice. It is argued that the approach is compatible with current philosophies of science as those of Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend. Aims for physics teaching in general education were derived within the psychological perspective of George Kelly and his constructivist view of knowledge. Rogers' developmental model of the adoption process of an innovation was used as a framework for designing a scheme to promote change in student teacher's perspectives in the direction of constructivism and for developing teaching skills appropriate for teaching within this latter perspective. The choice of a research methodology compatible with the assumptions underlying this study was justified by analysing the two main methodological approaches used in educational research. The main study reported in the thesis was aimed at investigating the applicability and effectiveness of the scheme designed within three contexts: i) the course of "Physics Didactics" given by the author to thirteen student teachers in two consecutive years at the university of Aveiro (Part A); ii) the year of teaching practice of five of these student teachers (Part B); iii) the first year of professional life of three of the student teachers, (Part C). In Part A of the main study an investigation is reported into the implementation of the four stages (awareness, interest, trial and evaluation) of the adoption process of the innovation with thirteen student teachers. In Part B, five case studies are presented based on the implementation of the adoption stage by student teachers in their teaching practice. The implementation of the adoption stage in the first year of professional life of three of the student teachers is presented in Part C of the main study. Despite different institutional contexts during their teaching practice and first year of professional life, the three novice teachers were able to maintain a constructivist perspective in their schools. Difficulties encountered in the implementation of the scheme in the three contexts are reported as well as some possible ways for overcoming these difficulties. In the last chapter of the thesis conclusions are drawn concerning the effectiveness of the scheme designed, the research methodology followed and the adoption of a constructivist approach to Science Teacher Education. Recommendations and suggestions for further research are also presented in this last chapter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training