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Exploring teacher's beliefs about the nature of science and their relationship to classroom practices : a case study with special reference to physical science teachers in the Empangeni / Richards Bay area.

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This research explored the complex issue of the nature of science. The purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between teachers 's beliefs about the nature of science and their classroom practices. Limited literature exists on the nature of science in South Africa. However, findings from the study concurs with the abundant international literature on the nature of science. This research has shown that textbooks, the curriculum, and teacher training are three of the primary factors that shape teachers ' beliefs about the nature of science. The under-emphasis of the nature of science in textbooks, the curriculum and in teaching training contributes to the misrepresentation of the nature of science by teachers in their classroom practices. This research was conducted as a case study using quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection such as questionnaires, interviews, and classroom observations. Findings from the study have shown that teachers' instructional strategies are consistent with their personal educational philosophies, that is, teachers' teach science according to a belief system. For teachers operating in the analytical paradigm, the products of science such as the laws and theories were emphasized in their teaching and lessons were teacher dominated. Teachers operating in the hermeneutic and critical paradigms present science as dynamic and changing and they emphasized the products and processes of science with the teacher acting as a facilitator. Recommendations from the research include the development of new textbooks, curricula, teaching techniques and approaches to science. The research also calls for the inclusion of history and philosophy of science in the science curriculum.


Thesis (M.Ed.)-University of Durban-Westville, 1998.


Theses--Education., Science--History., Science--Philosophy., Science--Study and teaching.