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Title: Doing science : professional development and the experiences of teachers and pupils in primary classrooms
Author: Fraser, Christine Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 935X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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This study is an exploration of the impact of teachers’ professional development on teachers’ and pupils’ experiences of science in primary schools.  It arose from the need to examine the primary science classroom as the context for both teachers’ and pupils’ learning to establish what those experiences were.  Qualitative data was collected from six primary school teachers using video-stimulated reflective dialogue and from four pupils in each class during group interviews.  Quantitative data, from six teachers and 118 pupil questionnaires, complemented qualitative data.  An activity theory perspective provided a framework for organising and interpreting the findings.  Findings showed primary teachers’ science-related learning was not usually undertaken in a way which provided, supported and validated positive experiences.  Hence, teachers’ confidence and ability to see themselves as teachers of primary science remained under-developed.  Therefore, despite theoretical views which espoused social constructivist, pupil-centred investigative approaches, in practice teachers tended to adopt teacher directed strategies focusing on control of the learning environment rather than pupils’ learning.  This restricted opportunities for teachers to learn from pupils, decreased pupils autonomy and limited pupils’ learning to the domains emphasised by the teacher.  Consequently, some pupils, some teachers, saw science as a difficult subject demanding memorisation of a large body of fragmented knowledge that had little relevance to everyday life and even less scope for creativity. The study concluded that current structures and practices, which do not support adequately the development of teachers’ science-related learning, need to change.  Such changes should enable teachers to understand the implication of contextual and social factors for the strategies they adopt and, hence, for pupils’ learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teachers ; Science