While the value of popular media in science education has been acknowledged, very little empirical research and guidance exists for helping teachers to incorporate such mediums into the science curriculum and effectively use them in their classroom practice. This study suggests a novel approach, which uses scenes from documentary films about historical cases of scientific investigations as a context and instructional tool to improve pre-service science teachers’ (PSTs) conceptions of nature of science (NOS). The participants were 39 third-year university students in a 4-year pre-service science teacher-training program in Turkey. The participants received an explicit reflective NOS instruction, and they were introduced to some techniques for using scenes from documentary films to illustrate and discuss scientific principles, processes and ideas about science. In addition, the participants were asked to critically evaluate a documentary film, select scenes from the film to illustrate and discuss ideas about science and its nature, make a presentation to their peers and afterwards write a reflective report about their classroom teaching. During these activities, the instructor explicitly addressed the target aspects of NOS and made PSTs’ thinking more viable and reflective. A modified version of the Views on Science-Technology- Society (VOSTS) questionnaire (Dogan and Abd-El-Khalick 2008) was used to assess PSTs’ ideas about NOS. The results indicated that, compared to their ideas at the beginning of the course, many PSTs developed informed ideas about NOS throughout the course. This study contributes to the literature in that it provides examples of how to use documentary films in science teaching for promoting students’ ideas about NOS and how to integrate them into the science curriculum. This approach can be useful to other teachers and science educators with similar goals. Some possible implications for teacher education and further research are also discussed in this paper. Nonetheless, further research is needed on the effectiveness of such courses on teachers’ abilities to use this approach within the science curriculum while teaching science and its nature.

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Using documentary films as a mediating artifact for promoting preservice science teachers’ ideas about science and nature of science

Gultekin Cakmakci   Hacettepe University

While the value of popular media in science education has been acknowledged, very little empirical research and guidance exists for helping teachers to incorporate such mediums into the science curriculum and effectively use them in their classroom practice. This study suggests a novel approach, which uses scenes from documentary films about historical cases of scientific investigations as a context and instructional tool to improve pre-service science teachers’ (PSTs) conceptions of nature of science (NOS). The participants were 39 third-year university students in a 4-year pre-service science teacher-training program in Turkey. The participants received an explicit reflective NOS instruction, and they were introduced to some techniques for using scenes from documentary films to illustrate and discuss scientific principles, processes and ideas about science. In addition, the participants were asked to critically evaluate a documentary film, select scenes from the film to illustrate and discuss ideas about science and its nature, make a presentation to their peers and afterwards write a reflective report about their classroom teaching. During these activities, the instructor explicitly addressed the target aspects of NOS and made PSTs’ thinking more viable and reflective. A modified version of the Views on Science-Technology- Society (VOSTS) questionnaire (Dogan and Abd-El-Khalick 2008) was used to assess PSTs’ ideas about NOS. The results indicated that, compared to their ideas at the beginning of the course, many PSTs developed informed ideas about NOS throughout the course. This study contributes to the literature in that it provides examples of how to use documentary films in science teaching for promoting students’ ideas about NOS and how to integrate them into the science curriculum. This approach can be useful to other teachers and science educators with similar goals. Some possible implications for teacher education and further research are also discussed in this paper. Nonetheless, further research is needed on the effectiveness of such courses on teachers’ abilities to use this approach within the science curriculum while teaching science and its nature.

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