Post-graduate physical science teachers' knowledge of and classroom practice in the nature of science in KwaZulu-Natal.
Naidoo, Kumarasen Kristnasamy.
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The introduction of the new Physical Science curriculum in South Africa in 2006 has created challenges for physical science teachers and curriculum developers, including tertiary science educators. The curriculum recommends that the Nature of Science (NOS) has to be taught in an integrated manner in physical science lessons. In addition approximately one-third of all questions in class tests and examinations should be on NOS. Studies that were conducted nationally and internationally have shown that most science teachers‟ have inadequate views of NOS. This study, in particular, looks at post- graduate physical science teachers‟ knowledge and classroom practice of the Nature of Science in KwaZulu-Natal. Data was collected using a NOS questionnaire by a group of 38 FET physical science and life science teachers who had completed an honours module in NOS. Part of this module included the history and philosophy of science in classroom lessons, indigenous knowledge, and science and culture. Four physical science volunteers were then selected for in-depth classroom observations and interviews. This formed the main data for the study with fieldwork carried out in teachers‟ classrooms. Results indicated that postgraduate science teachers have an adequate understanding of NOS, mainly as a result of having completed modules covering NOS objectives, history of science and philosophy of science. Furthermore, evidence confirms that these teachers made positive attempts to plan and teach for the achievement of the NOS objectives during physical science class lessons and used materials and references from their post-graduate programmes.