Investigating Tutors’ Understanding of the Characteristics of Science and Influence on Instructional Roles’ Performance. A Case of Five Primary Teacher Training Colleges in Northern Uganda


Masterarbeit

80 Seiten


Leseprobe

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DEDICATION

ABSTRACT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

LIST OF TABLES

LIST OF FIGURES

CHAPTER ONE
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background context to the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Rationale of the study
1.4 Significance of the study
1.5 Objectives of the study
1.5.1 Main Objective:
1.5.2 Subsidiary Objectives:
1.6 Research Questions
1.7 Definitions of key words

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0 Introduction
2.1 How teaching and learning of science is conducted
2.2 The characteristics of science
2.2.1 The characteristics of knowledge of science
2.2.1.1 Tentativeness
2.2.1.2. Inference
2.2.2 Characteristics of inquiry-based activity
2.2.3 Science enterprise as a characteristic of science
2.3 The influence of teachers’ understanding of the COS on students’ performance
2.4 Summary

CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY
3.0 Introduction
3.1 The research approach
3.2 Design of the study
3.3 Study sample and area
3.4 Sample and sampling technique
3.5 Methods of data collection
3.5.1 Survey
3.5.2 Document Analysis
3.6 Data Collection Instruments
3.6.1 Science tutors’ questionnaire
3.6.2 Documentary analysis protocol
3.7 Analysis of data
3.8 Credibility and trustworthiness
3.9 Assumptions of the study
3.10 Limitations of the study
3.11 Ethical Considerations
3.12 Summary

CHAPTER FOUR PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS
4.0 Introduction
4.1 Science tutors’ qualifications
4.2 Tutors’ understanding of the COS knowledge
4.3 Tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of scientific inquiry
4.4 Tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of scientific enterprise
4.5 Kyambogo University final (year two) grade three teachers’ certificate examinations, 2017 and 2018 Science education analysis results
4.6 Discussion of results
4.6.1 Discussion of results for table 4.1; Educational qualifications of science tutors
4.6.2 Discussion of results for table 4.2; Tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) knowledge
4.6.3 Discussion of results for table 4. 3; Tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of science inquiry
4.6.4 Discussion of results for table 4.4; Tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of scientific enterprise
4.6.5 Discussion of results for table 4.5; Kyambogo University

CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION, IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.0 Introduction
5.1 Summary of the key findings
5.1.1 Tutors’ understanding of the COS knowledge
5.1.2 Tutors’ understanding of COS inquiry
5.1.3 Tutors’ understanding of COS enterprise
5.1.4 The influence of the levels of tutors’ understanding of COS on their instructional roles performance
5.2 Implications of the study
5.3 Recommendations for further research
5.4 Conclusion

REFERENCES

APPENDIX
Appendix A: Request letter to principals
Appendix B: Research project information sheet
Appendix C: Science tutors’ questionnaire
Appendix D: Documentary analysis protocol
Appendix E: Ethical Consent form for Tutors
Appendix F: PAUN Exams Board – science education results analysis – year one and two 2017
Appendix G: PAUN Exams analysis results – year one (paper: P104) science education - 2018
Appendix H: PAUN Exams analysis science education results – year two (Paper: P204) - 2018

DEDICATION

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD,” (Psalm 150:1-6). My dedication firstly goes to the Almighty God. God only you have the information on the cost I would meet if you did not make the divine provisions to me for this study opportunity. Thanks a lot. Asante Mungu Baba.

I dedicate this research project work to my parents Mzee Innocent Tile and Mum Ventorina Akao who did not only bring me to this world but also, cared for and gave me the framework structures underlying the foundation on which I live today. Although you did not have good education, you ensured I acquired work tools and information and skills on how to use them to get basic needs.

To my wife Eunice Akullo for supporting me throughout the studies and caring for the family at the same time. In addition to paying school fees for the children, you also helped in getting required items when the study program changed to purely online because of COVID – 19 pandemics.

To my beloved children; Akao Sharon, Okuja Ivan, Abonyo Lydia, Amoding Flavia, Adong Eve and Alum Syndrella for persevering my absence and inadequate provisions for basic life requirements and above all, praying for me when COVID – 19 pandemics broke out when I was still in dares salaam.

ABSTRACT

Teaching and learning in science education has been one of the common areas of focus in educational research across many countries in the world. First of all, this is because greater numbers of students in many levels of education do not perform well in sciences and secondly, a greater percent for world development requirements are met through various science works. In response as other countries, Uganda government instituted and implemented a number of interventions such as establishing Directorate of Education Standards, increasing all scientists’ employees’ salaries, revision of entry requirements into teacher education, to mention a few. The pass percentages in science education for northern Uganda primary teacher training college students have remained low for many years despite several efforts made towards the need for improvement. It has been cited that effective science teaching which improves students’ learning requires graduate science tutors’ adequate levels of understanding of the characteristics of science (COS). COS are different ways by which science can be correctly explained or described, for instance, science is inferential, science is biased, science knowledge is tentative. For that matter, this study proposed to assess the levels of understanding of the COS held by tutors in five selected PTTCs in northern Uganda. It also investigated tutors’ educational qualifications and students’ pass percentages at Kyambogo University final (year two) grade three science certificate examinations, 2017 and 2018 results. The study focused on levels of understanding of COS held by tutors, tutors’ educational qualifications and students’ science performance. A quantitative designed study which analyzed data using descriptive statistics was done. The results indicated that tutors had the required qualifications (First degree in education science), but held insufficient levels of understanding of COS, which are strongly supported by some scholars’ beliefs that they guide and support them in their instructional roles performance, leading to students’ good performance. Students’ performance indicated their low levels of achievement in the subject. This calls for a quick review of teacher educators’ science education curriculum by Kyambogo University and update of knowledge of COS by science tutors if students’ performance in science education is to be improved in northern Uganda PTTCs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

First of all, I wish to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Almighty God, for having supported me always in everything. God You saw me very needy and selected me among so many people and made me trained in Aga Khan University. You cared for me during long journeys and all dangers from COVID – 19 pandemics while still out of Uganda. You made all the necessary provisions of all items which were required at the time and which I could not get them on my own.

My heartfelt sincere thanks goes to the department of Teacher Instructor Education and Training at the MOES for giving me permission to study for one year and so enabled me to complete my M.Ed study successfully. To the administration and staff of Loro Core Primary Teachers’ College where I work, who accepted to release me to go for studies and members who participated in this research.

My special appreciation goes to Dr. Fredrick Mtenzi and Dr. Rosemary Stephen for willingly accepting to be my supervisors and offering me unlimited guidance in all aspects of the study. Thank you so much.

To AKU – IED East Africa for granting me the study opportunity of scholarship and taking charge of all aspects of my security while in Dar essalaam. Specifically, I recognize to me by Prof. Dr. Joe L. P. Lugalla. Through your competent office work, you selected me among very many applicants for financial assistance award. Prof. Dr. Joe L. P, Lugalla stay blessed.

To AKU - IED East Africa (Dar ICT) Staff, who always helped to solve any raised ICT technical problem on time using applications of zoom and team-viewer throughout the course. They responded to all requests.

To all AKU – IED East Africa academic staff, who positively impacted on my life and empowered me to improve on my job roles performance through their outstanding academic, professional and parental teaching and learning facilitation styles.

To Uganda cohort 2021 who kept me strong and focused through their brotherly willingness to collaborate and initiate better ways of working and encouragement in all academic struggles.

The following persons have thatched my life in all aspects. Listing your name here is not only significant in the achievement I have made but also, a prayer for blessings and blessings upon you from Almighty God. ( Wece George, Okii Apollo George, Oman Charles, Musa Saimon, Auno Betraice, Omol Boniface, Ogwata Sam and Akullo Eunice). May God the father, bless you abundantly, Amen.

DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY

I OKEC PATRICK, hereby declare that this dissertation is my own original work. It represents my own efforts and has not been taken whole or in part, without reference to whom or from where the information was obtained.

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

AKU – IED Aga Khan University, Institute of Educational Development

COS Characteristics of science

COVID-19 Corona Virus type 19 Disease

CPD Continuous Professional Development

DEOs District Education Offices

ERC Ethical Review Committee

ESA Education Standard Agency

GUs Government Universities

MOES Ministry of Education and Sports

GUs Government Universities

NTTCs National Teacher Training Colleges

PAUN Principals’ Association Uganda Northern

PTTCs Primary Teacher Training Colleges

TPCK Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

UNCST Uganda National Council for Science and Technology

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1.1 Year one and two 2017 and 2018 science education examination performance analysis results for five selected colleges in northern Uganda

Table 2.1 Teachers’ personal theories of teaching and learning

Table 4 1 Tutors’ understanding of the COS knowledge

Table 4 2 Tutors’ understanding of the COS inquiry

Table 4 3 Tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of scientific enterprise

Table 4 4 Science tutors’ educational qualifications

Table 4 5 Kyambogo University promotional (year one) and final (year two) grade three teachers’ certificate examinations, 2017 and 2018 science education analysis results

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2 1 Conceptual framework

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 Introduction

The main objective for science teaching and learning is to prepare community members who can employ their science knowledge in creating development opportunities. The community members refer to persons who have been science learners and performed well or achieved highly during the teaching and learning program and have or will become productive in their respective communities. They are the products or results of goal achievement in science teaching and learning, which means persons who have successfully completed different science related courses or programs from various levels of education.

This information led to the observation that communities with more science literate members have more development opportunities The observation is a justification to the statement that many countries and scholars over the world highly value science teaching and learning (Gudula, 2017; Murcia Karen, 2005). Looking at the roles of science globally in sectors of health, transport, education, agriculture and communication, it can be stated that promotion of science education is among the strategies to be prioritized for fueling world development.

Teachers are among the important machineries that provide means for achieving science education goal everywhere. In order to achieve the goal, they need to follow the 21st century teaching and learning recommended practices (Murcia Karen, 2005), which require them to fully apply Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPCK) (Magnusson et al., 2002). This is an observation that for a successful science teaching learning process, there must be a teacher(s) who are (is) able to follow certain well laid down guiding information on how to plan for and conduct instructional activities in such modern ways which are believed to cultivate or promote better students’ learning. The 21st century or modern teaching and learning principles direct that teachers should be able to use computers in their teaching and learning processes, act as guides to learning but not as the sole source of knowledge, learners should be fully engaged in learning activities which are designed for them by their teachers. These principles are in coherence and further supported by the teachers’ TPCK, especially by the part of pedagogy (P)(methodology) which is the aspect about the teaching methods.

TPCK is a theoretical framework of knowledge that guides teachers throughout during their instructional roles performance and conform to the 21st century teaching and learning practices. (Magnusson et al., 2002) explains that it is the teachers’ knowledge (K) of information and communication technology (T), methods of teaching (pedagogy) (P) and subject content (c) which guides them in the execution of their professional roles. The teachers’ knowledge of pedagogy is one of the important aspects or pillars of teachers’ TPCK which is strongly supported by the teachers’ knowledge of COS. It is concerned with areas such as planning for and conducting lesson activities, including design of activities or experiments, designing learning environment, using teaching learning materials (educational technology), designing and conducting assessment activities, making learning aids and improvisation, to mention a few.

Characteristics of Science (COS) refer to features, qualities or beliefs which are considered when identifying or explaining science. For the purpose of examples, they refer to the following notions: Science is biased, science knowledge is tentative, acceptable science information is developed cooperatively and in collaboration, imagination and creativity guide science activities, human inference drives science, science is socially and culturally embedded, there is no single agreed method for doing science, science information is developed as a result various methods or activities such as experimentation, description, comparison, making or observing correlations among objects or given situations.

The implications of these sets of information on different ways to explain science is that they form a framework of guidance to teachers during planning and execution of their instructional roles which leads to science knowledge development. This means, as an example, when planning for an experimental lesson, the implications of the aspects such as importance of collaboration and cooperation in science, creativity and imagination, will guide the teacher during planning in creating ways or formulating the experimental setups and other activities including assessment during and after the lesson and considering group work sharing of materials by learners. This support to pedagogy aspect of the teachers’ TPCK by COS, is the link between the teachers’ TPCK and COS which was observed and explained by Murcia Karen (2005).

A considerable number of scholars have reported in their studies that good level of teachers’ knowledge of characteristics of science (COS) aspects impacts positively on students’ learning hence, improves on performance (F.McComas William, 2002; Irez, 2004; Magnusson et al., 2002; Yip, 2006). The observations of these scholars converge to the central idea that good level of knowledge on how to describe or identify science (COS) enables teachers to improve on their levels of competence in executing their instructional roles. There is need to expand and give more explanation to the observation.

It is important to note and explain clearly why teachers should be very conversant with COS, which is the framework of the observations often made by some scholars. An example of COS or ways of explaining science is, “science is in all human activities.” This tells the teacher that he or she needs to find out links between the science lesson content and the science experiences the learner has and manipulate them to simplify learning. This information provides guidance which is above those provided by the knowledge or information on how to scheme, lesson plan, use learning aids and others. COS aspects is not taught to teachers directly during their training in the Universities or colleges, but they are expected to develop and learn them as they experience various curriculum activities. This is the background information when it is stated that science teachers who are well informed by COS are always well guided during planning and execution of their instructional roles towards achievement of the goal of good students’ performance.

Abd-El-Khalick et al (1997a) observes and explains that graduate science teachers teach using informed instructional techniques which conform to the aspects of COS and brings about realization of the goal of science education which is good students’ performance or preparing science literate persons. This is a clarification that good science teachers are graduate science teachers because they are able to integrate COS aspects in their instructional activities which promotes students’ performance. Teachers who have not yet acquired graduate qualifications are not considered competent enough because their initial teacher training curricular experiences lacked the required activities to equip them with COS knowledge items.

Across many countries in the world, teaching and learning in science education is one of the major areas of interest in educational research and has attracted many scholars and political leaders (Gudula, 2017; Murcia Karen, 2005). Science work is globally leading in creating avenues required for development and this has created a misconception among many communities that development is only brought about by advancement in science work. This majorly originates from great science wok seen in the sectors of health, education, agriculture, transport, communication and defense.

Uganda government like other countries, identified and started implementing ways of promoting the teaching and learning of science such as; increasing the number of students she pays for their tuition fees in public universities who are offering science related programs and increasing monthly pay for all science teacher, lecturers, medical workers and engineers. These in addition to the global perspectives above, are justifications of the observations by many communities around the world that science and science teaching and learning are very important because communities with many science literate members are more developmental and to their disappointment, greater numbers of students at various levels of education do not perform well.

It follows that, despite several efforts which have been made in need of achieving the goal of science education by education stakeholders in charge of northern Uganda PTTCs, students’ pass percentages in grade three teachers’ training science certificate examinations results have persistently remained low (see appendices F, G, and H). According to Principals’ Association Uganda Northern (PAUN) Examinations Board science analysis results of 2017 and 2018, as shown by the above indicated appendices, the combined pass percentages (distinctions and credits) for the nine colleges, in 2017 year one was 23% and year two was 61.5%. In 2018, the percentages were year: 12% (year one) and 15.8% (year two).

As far as I am aware, there are many studies leading to the comprehensive explanation of the influence of the levels of tutors’ understanding of COS on their instructional roles’ performance around the world but not in northern Uganda PTTCs and Uganda as a nation.

This study therefore assessed the level of understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) aspects held by tutors and influence on their instructional roles’ performance as indicated by students’ science performance, a case of five primary teacher training colleges in northern Uganda. It was guided by the research question, “What level of understanding of COS is held by tutors?” and specific objectives:

(i) To determine level of tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) knowledge.
(i) To determine the level of the tutors’ understanding of the COS inquiry.
(ii) To determine the level of the tutors’ understanding of the COS enterprise.

This report presents the background and context to the study in chapter one, literature and conceptual framework in chapter two and methodology in chapter three. Presentation of the findings, analysis and discussions are given in chapter four and the implications of the findings, recommendations and conclusions are the last items in chapter five.

1.1 Background context to the study

Historical and various data and facts collected over a number of years inform that post primary and secondary science teachers instructional roles’ performance persistently remained low and this has been indicated by low students’ performance (Moses, 2018; Mushtaq & Khan, 2012). Science provides the major world development opportunities (Murcia Karen, 2005). Therefore, the main objective for science education is producing science literate individuals who are capable of creating development opportunities for their communities.

Students’ low performance in science in Uganda Primary Teacher Training Colleges (Northern Uganda inclusive) (Apolo et al., 2017; Mushtaq & Khan, 2012) indicates science tutors’ low levels of performance of instructional roles. Mishra & Koehler, (2006) explains that the quality of any curriculum products, which in this case are primary science teacher trainees, is directly linked to the trainers’ or teachers’ level of knowledge of theory and pedagogy of teaching which are prescribed by a given curriculum.

In this study, pedagogy of teaching is taken or considered to be provided and greatly supported by the teachers’ knowledge of Characteristics of science. Characteristics of Science (COS) refer to features, qualities or beliefs which are considered when identifying or explaining science. It is a set of different ways by which science can correctly be described or explained, for instance, science knowledge is tentative, a science activity is biased and science work depends on observation and inference.

Science tutors in PTTCs are primary teacher trainers who are trained by Kyambogo University to facilitate the teaching and learning of science hence, use the science curriculum organized and designed by the University. They are primary school teachers who have undergone further training in primary teacher training course at Kyambogo University. This is because the Uganda government gave only the University mandate for training, organizing and designing the trainers’ curriculum (Ministry of Education and Sports 2011).

Science curriculum for use in PTTCs is part of the PTTC curriculum which is made up of Professional studies, Mathematics, Language and Science. The science part is made up of the basic sciences of ordinary level of education curriculum which includes Physics, chemistry, Biology, Health Science and it also includes item contents on how to teach science in primary schools. This explains why the applicants are the ordinary level of education levers and must have passed two categories of sciences which are categorized as Physical Science (Physics and Chemistry), Biological Science (Biology and Health Science) and Agriculture (Agriculture Principles and Practices) (Ministry of Education Sports; 2011; Kagumba, 2015). This further means that the curriculum is integrated in the sense that it is formed by contents of knowledge, skills and attitudes of other pure sciences and the methods of teaching in primary schools. In that respect, the topics and contents for both years of science studies in PTTCs have been carefully selected from ordinary level basic sciences and health mentioned and teaching methods. The contents of the curriculum match properly with the primary school science curriculum although the one for PTTCs is at a higher level.

As a result of realizing that science literate persons, as a goal product of science education, are not only very productive members in a society but also, functionally understand science processes, complex relations among science, technology and society, some communities have put a lot of values on science education (Gudula, 2017; Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin, 2013). Gudula, (2017) adds that a science literate person functionally understands the aspects of COS such as biasness of science, dependence of science on imagination and creativity, social and cultural embeddedness of science, to mention but a few. It follows that many science scholars and major education organizations advocate for the preparation of scientifically literate persons (Abd-El-Khalick et al., 1997a).

Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman (2000), Irez (2004), Webb (2007), reported in their studies that in order to be able to prepare science literate persons or achieve the goal of science education, teachers must have sufficient levels of understanding of COS. They add that COS is one of the major information areas which guide scholars researching on factors that influence preparation of scientific literate persons. These mean teachers’ understanding of the characteristics of science is related to their instructional roles and students’ performances. Good level of teachers’ instructional roles performance would be seen as good students’ performance. Making agreement with these ideas, Norman G. Lederman(1992), explains that achieving the goal of science education requires that teachers hold sufficient levels of understanding of COS.

Many nations in the world are challenged with searching for and implementing strategies that will improve upon the quality of science education. It is well known that achievement of the goal of science education is directed by the quality of training or teaching and learning resources and or machineries and activities. In America, (Schussler et al., 2013) conducted his study in this field and advised that teachers need to use various methods and activities in science teaching because in that way, they promote many COS aspects to themselves and their learners. National Centre For Education Statistics, (2007), cited in (Gale M, Sinatra, 2007) states, “Science educators in the early 21st century are facing a myriad of issues. Indeed, students in the United States still lag behind students in other nations in science education achievement.” On the same idea, Magnusson et al. (2002) explains that information in the areas of importance of the teachers’ knowledge in teaching is provided by study reports available, explaining that science teachers’ levels of knowledge on teaching and sets of beliefs have heavy effects on their instructional roles and contents and the way the learners learn. All these study results indicate that communities around the world are struggling to improve on the levels of achievement of science education goals.

In Uganda, performance in science at various levels of education has persistently remained low. In response to the condition, the government identified and began putting into practice some ways or interventions which could lead to improvement in science teaching and learning. Examples of the interventions include; Establishment of instructions materials unit in MOES to ensure equal support on instructional items to educational institutions including PTTCs, introduction of teacher education proficiency training to retool tutors in teaching methodologies, revision of entry requirements into teacher education to emphasize good previous passes in sciences. Establishment of the education standard agency (ESA) and later directorate of education standards (DES) was one of the strategies done to ensure quality assurance.

The performance of science in the northern Uganda primary teacher training colleges has remained poor for many years in spite of several efforts made towards the need for achieving the goal of science education by the stakeholders. According to PAUN Examinations Board, 2017 and 2018 science results (see table I.1 below and appendices F, G and H). The combined total pass percentages (credits and distinctions) for the nine colleges were: 2017 year one, 23% and two 61.5% while in 2018, year one (12%) and two (15.8%). This shows that generally the performance is below average. The percentage pass of 61.5 could be attributed to factors such as; poor paper items setting, marking challenges, problems in the administration such as poor invigilation and examinations leakage.

Table 1.1 below shows year one and two students’ performance in 2017 and 2018 science education examination analysis results. The combined performance for year one 2017 and 2018 are 35.6% and 63% and for year two are 33.7% and 32% respectively. Although year one 2018 combined result is slightly above average (63%), the general results show that performance in science is low.

Table 1.1 Year one and two 2017 and 2018 science education examination performance analysis results for five selected colleges in northern Uganda.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

There is need to study and find out the level of the tutors’ understanding of the COS and influence on their instructional roles’ performance. This will serve as a means of searching for solutions on the problems causing setbacks to the achievement of the desired goal of science education in the PTTCs in northern Uganda.

1.2 Statement of the problem

A graduate science tutor is expected to teach using informed instructional techniques or practices which conform to the aspects of the characteristics of science (COS) which do not only develop scientific literacy skills in students but also, promote good students’ performance. Making agreement to this reasoning, (Abd-El-Khalick et al., 1997a) asserts, “The preparation of scientifically literate students is a perennial goal of science education”. Basing on the importance and the expectation of sufficient levels of the understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) of graduate tutors, Uganda government and other stake holders such as Board of Governors, Ministry of Education and Sports and Parents, have been making several efforts to support tutors’ instructional practices in order to improve on students’ learning.

For the past eight years, only graduate tutors have been recruited to teach science in Primary Teacher Colleges. A number of textbooks from the Ministry of Education and sports were distributed to the colleges and in addition, interventions such as ‘Reading to Learn’ and ‘School performance Reviews,’ (Ministry of Education and Sports; 2011) were initiated and implemented. The major purposes of the interventions converged to the improvement of students’ performance through supporting tutors in their classroom work. However, despite all these efforts made for all at national level, pass percentages of students in northern Uganda PTTCs in science education have remained low for many years (See appendices F, G and H). The interventions could be lacking in terms of support to the tutors’ understanding of all aspects of characteristics of science (COS) and the implications to their instructional practices.

Effective science teaching which improves students’ learning requires science tutors’ sufficient understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) (Sarkar & Gomes, 2010), thus the purpose of this study is to determine the level of the tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) and influence on their instructional roles’ performance. COS are features, qualities or beliefs which are used to identify or explain science.

1.3 Rationale of the study

My interest to find out the level of understanding of the COS held by science tutors as a means to enhance my instructional capacity to model primary science teacher trainees was ignited by a strong belief that teachers’ key role is to formulate science image held by general community and the importance of their knowledge about nature of science (Webb, 2007), which is referred in this study as, “COS.”

1.4 Significance of the study

The data provided in this study may:

a. Inform Teacher education curriculum planners and designers of the need for adjustment in the curriculum to emphasize on nature of science teaching,
b. Inform and advise teacher educators on the need to emphasize on the teaching of nature of science during training in the colleges or universities,
c. Inform and guide education officers and managers in the Ministry of Education, tutor and teacher training universities and colleges in planning for workshop trainings for science tutors and teachers on aspects of characteristics of science,
d. Provide a base for information for more research into tutors’ understanding of the COS.

1.5 Objectives of the study.

The study was guided by the following objectives:

1.5.1 Main Objective:

To determine the level of understanding of the characteristics of science held by tutors.

1.5.2 Subsidiary Objectives:

(iii) To determine the level of the tutors’ understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) knowledge.
(iv) To determine the level of the tutors’ understanding of the COS inquiry.
(v) To determine the level of the tutors’ understanding of the COS enterprise.

1.6 Research Questions.

Main Question: What level of understanding of the COS is held by tutors?

(i) What level of understanding of the COS knowledge is held by tutors?
(ii) What level of understanding of the COS inquiry-based activity is held by tutors?
(iii) What level of understanding of the COS enterprise is held by tutors?

1.7 Definitions of key words.

Science, Characteristics of science, Science tutors

Science: Is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Characteristics of science (COS): Refer to features or qualities which serve to identify or explain science. They include explanations or definitions of science knowledge, requirements for or how science information is or knowledge is developed and man’s life engagement with science, socially and culturally. Simply, they are different ways by which science can be identified, described or explained.

Science Tutors: Science in educational institutions is a universal subject which is broken down into the fields of biology, chemistry and physics. Science Tutors are the teachers in the primary teacher training colleges who facilitate the teaching and learning of science subject.

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 Introduction

In this chapter, I use relevant literature to explain characteristics of science (COS) or ways through which science can be correctly described or explained, the need for science teachers’ ability in being well versed with COS and my ideas or explanation on COS. In addition to literature, I also use a conceptual model and some literature to explain how good teachers’ levels of understanding of COS improve on their students’ performance.

2.1 How teaching and learning of science is conducted

(Black et al., 1998), describes the normal practices of science teaching and learning in Uganda in many levels of education. It is always characterized by teachers’ use of certain definite activities and methods of teaching attached to science such as; experimentation, field trip; inquiry, project, demonstration and group work. The challenges to teachers’ levels of proficiency in performing the instructional activities are the factors such as the short training curricular time schedules, low levels of knowledge and skills of the trainers’ or teachers’ roles’ performance, lack of tools and materials, low staff ceiling, lack of laboratories, students’ ability, inadequate and late remittance of grants and administrative problems in the various teacher training institutions.

Teachers also design classroom environments to include items or things learnt such as diagrams, real objects or specimens together with learning activities. In secondary schools, there is heavy use of well stocked libraries and physics, chemistry and biology laboratories. In PTTCs science teaching and learning environment also include use of science laboratories and well stocked libraries and also other items such as science schemes of work, lesson plans, teaching learning aids and demonstration lessons. It is important to note as observed by Mushtaq & Khan, (2012), levels of mastery of the learning materials presented and performance of the required competences by students are not only greatly influenced by constraints of the individual colleges and schools but also by social, psychological, home economic status and student ability factors.

In all educational institutions, science instructors or teachers make schemes of work, lesson plans, teaching learning aids and conduct teaching and learning activities, which include evaluation and assessment of learning. Support supervision and inspection in science teaching and learning look at the effective performance of the activity items mentioned but face serious challenges such as limited resources for facilitation, tight duty schedules of inspectors, weather conditions and embezzlement of funds, late remittances of funds from the central government and geographical locations of some colleges or schools ((Mutabaruka et al., 2018). These in addition to having only a few inspectors and education managers who are scientists, justify difficulties and delay in improvement of students’ and teachers’ performances.

2.2 The characteristics of science

Many scholars defined characteristics of science (COS). Abd-El-Khalick et al. (1997a) defines COS as, “The epistemology of science, science as a way of knowing or the values and beliefs inherent to the development of scientific knowledge.” Another definition by Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, (2000b), does not differ in any way with this first definition. Sarkar & Gomes (2010), state, “The epistemology of science or principles and beliefs inherent to the development of scientific knowledge,” According to Bell et al (2002), COS is,” How science works, how scientists operate as social groups and how society itself both directs and reacts to scientific endeavors.” Murcia Karen, (2005) also defines COS as, “An integral part of scientific literacy which incorporates into our way of thinking, the values and assumptions inherent in the development of scientific knowledge.” Among the definitions, I adopt Mucia Karen’s and my own perception on COS, drawing from various definitions is, “COS are sets of guiding principles, beliefs, features or qualities which can be used to identify or explain science.”

In making agreement to the same topic, Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin (2013) summarized COS into eight aspects of: Absence of one way agreed for doing science by all, tentativeness of knowledge of science, dependence of science on observation and evidence, the role of creative and imaginative work leading to the development of science knowledge, absence of hierarchy when dealing with theories and laws, integration of science in peoples’ cultural and social lives, science is subjective and a means of knowing.

The different aspects of the characteristics of science (COS) are the items on which the conceptual framework of this study, which is illustrated in figure 2.1 is built. In this study, all aspects of the (COS) have been put into the following three major groups, as adopted from Sarkar & Gomes, (2010). (a) The characteristics of knowledge of science, (b) The characteristics of inquiry based activities and (c) Science enterprise as a characteristics of science.

2.2.1 The characteristics of knowledge of science

This sub-section discusses COS or ways of describing science as a developed and organized body of information, that is, what or the characteristics of science knowledge.

2.2.1.1 Tentativeness.

Although science knowledge takes long time, it is subject to change. A given information changes when evidence for the new information against it is discovered, (because of the technology advancement), the previous justification or evidence can be explained in support of the new theory or knowledge (Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, 2000b). Sarkar & Gomes, (2010), add that science information can change as result of realizing uncertainty of the knowledge because of its inferential state, subjectivity and cultural embeddedness in nature. Sarieddine & BouJaoude, (2014), Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin (2013) agree and also add that scientific knowledge is dynamic, yet reliable. Irez (2004), also agrees with the views and concludes that scientific knowledge is subject to change.

2.2.1.2. Inference.

Although science information is obtained from or in line with observing the natural world, it is inferential and observations are statements which describe things which happen naturally and can be accessed directly through our senses, for instance, If we plant a bean seed in moist soil, the seedling breaks the soil and come out during germination (Sarkar & Gomes, 2010). In this aspect, (Schussler et al., 2013) said that science depends a lot on creativity and inference. Other scholars explain the view with the statement, “ human inference is necessarily involved in science work,” (Norman G. Lederman, 1992). This means inference is important in science knowledge development process.

2.2.1.3 Science is theory – laden and subjective.

This characteristic suggests that scientists’ knowledge of theories, prior training, previous experience, work, faith and beliefs, ideas of politics, sex and origin of tribe always influence the thinking in their minds which in turn influences the designing of the methods for investigation of science information. They make scientific investigations of categories matching with their different values and the values affect observations and interpretations ( Sarkar & Gomes, 2010). While accepting these views Schussler et al. (2013) said science is inherently theory laden, meaning scientists’ work follow theories already known to them and Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin ( 2013) expressed that science is subjective.

2.2.1.4 Science knowledge requires imagination and creativity.

Although science knowledge has a practical base, it requires one to be imaginative and creative, for instance, the ideas explaining atoms’ structure are not formulated from beliefs, but are products of inference and creativity (Abd-El-Khalick et al., 1997a; Norman G Lederman, 1998; Sarkar & Gomes, 2010). Other scholars accepted this explanation and explained that creativity, imagination and inference are very important in science activities which produce scientific knowledge (Koksal Serdar Mustafa, 2010; Schussler et al., 2013).

2.2.1.5 Relations between laws and theories

When explaining the nature and the function of theories and laws, Sarkar & Gomes,( 2010), assert, “scientific laws are statements or descriptions of the relationships between observable phenomena, and scientific theories are inferred explanations for observable phenomena”. They add that theories include laws and provide frameworks for the present information and procedures for further knowledge search. Theories are more abstract and it is very important to recognize that laws and theories are justified by practical information and are considered two separate types of information. This means that they have different roles in science. As a contribution to the same topic, Norm G. Lederman et al. (2002, 2002); Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin, (2001 ) added that Laws may change with new evidence.

2.2.2 Characteristics of inquiry-based activity.

Characteristics of scientific inquiry are explained by the ideas of myth of science method and myth of experimentation. A myth suggests false, therefore, “myth of science method” is used to explain that there is no one universally accepted method of doing science, and “myth of experimentation,” is used to state that experimentation is not the only method through which all scientific information is developed, other methods are employed.

2.2.2.1 Myth of science method.

This is a misconception which is expressed in terms of a statement which suggests that there is only one method of developing or finding out new science information, However, there is no universal method for finding or developing science information (Bell et al., 2002; Cansiz Nustafa et al., 2017; Sarkar & Gomes, 2010). Accepting and expressing the same information, Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin ( 2013) said there is no universal accepted one way of doing science. These means scientists use various methods, steps and activities when developing new or approving scientific information and so they use their power of creativity to design various activities of various steps to develop new information.

2.2.2.2 Myth of experimentation.

This is a myth or misconception which is understood as experimenting is the only method used in inquiry of science information or knowledge. What is true and has been accepted is that inquiry in science has other forms such as correlation and description (Judith S, Lederman & Allison Antink, 2013; Norm G. Lederman et al., 2002; Sarkar & Gomes, 2010; Schussler et al., 2013). This suggests that describing and comparing situations, objects or conditions lead to the development of new scientific information. Irez(2004), when discussing the topic stated, “There is no universal step-by-step scientific method that captures the complexity of doing science.” This is an additional explanation that in addition to experiments, scientists use various methods and activities of various steps in doing their work.

2.2.3 Science enterprise as a characteristic of science.

Science enterprise as a characteristic of science has been explained under the following sub-sections of the aspect. It is the explanation or description of science in terms of its nature of embeddedness or intergradation in all human life activities.

2.2.3.1 Science is embedded in society and culture.

This aspect explains that science is connected with man’s or human business activities which are practiced or done in society and because of that, Sarkar & Gomes, (2010), state that, “Science affects and is affected by different cultural elements in human settings such as social values, power structures, politics, socio-economic factors, philosophy and religious factors.” Some scholars explain this aspect that activities of science are exercised or conducted in a culture and the people participating in the activities are the culture’s products. Irez, (2004), Norman G. Lederman, (1992), simply expressed it as social and cultural embeddedness of science.

2.2.3.2 Science and technology interaction.

The aspect is centered in the knowledge of the concepts of science and technology. Science is a way of knowing or getting information while technology refers to the application of science information. Technology and science therefore perform different functions in society and are not the same. The concepts are always misunderstood by teachers and it is explained that science and technology are identical (Sarkar & Gomes, 2010). Irez, (2004), Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin, (2013) explained that science deals with the processes of knowing the world while technology is concerned with exploiting science in producing a commercial result product.

2.2.3.3 Cooperation and collaboration in science.

This aspect claims that all scientific activities are done collectively and in collaboration. Although individuals can do good and outstanding science work, communities of science accept a new science information only if it has gone through a process of peer sharing (Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, 2000; Sarkar & Gomes, 2010 ).

Teachers’ knowledge of the characteristics of science is said to be very important in supporting teachers in their instructional roles performance (Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, 2000b; BouJaoude, 2000; Magnusson et al., 2002).

According to Webb (2007), there is no need for a teacher to understand the philosophical arguments of science in order to be skillful in science teaching. He argues the transfer of knowledge of science is so complex that it is influenced by a variety of factors such as classroom management, curriculum constraints, teaching experience and concerns of student ability and motivation.

In my experience, it is important to recognize that students’ performance is an outcome of a couple of factors such as students’ ability, tutors’ experience, curriculum challenges, students’ home economic factors, college environment, to mention a few, which interact to produce the same effect. Therefore, teachers’ level of understanding of the characteristics of science is one of the factors which influence students’ performance.

2.3 The influence of teachers’ understanding of the COS on students’ performance.

A number of researchers have studied the relations among teachers’ understanding of the characteristics of science, teachers’ instructional roles’ performance and students’ learning. Abd-El-Khalick et, al (1997), reported that having adequate understanding of the characteristics of science (COS) is necessary for the successful teaching which results into better students’ performance.

Endorsing the same idea, Sarieddine & BouJaoude, (2014), asserts, “the impact of the teachers’ conceptions of nature of science on their instructional practices and thus, on their students’ understanding has been investigated in various research studies and found out that teachers’ knowledge about nature of science, no matter in line with standard aspects set by science educators or not, mediated an explicit translation of the knowledge into classroom practice.” They add that adequate level of understanding of the characteristics of science is key to both the teachers’ classroom roles’ performance and students’ learning; it guides the teacher on how science information is obtained and developed.

Abd-El-Khalick et al. (1997a), Dogan & Abd-El-Khalick (2008), F.McComas William (2002),Sarieddine & BouJaoude (2014), Continue supporting the same idea of the importance of teachers’ adequate level of understanding of the characteristics of science in guiding them to teach science in authentic ways so that students gain realistic conceptions of science and how it is practiced in real-world settings. Similarly, Cissy S. Wong observed in Abell Martin & George (2011), support that teachers need explicit nature of science instruction in order to include aspects of nature of science in lesson plans and the instruction involves the planning and purposeful teaching of nature of science concepts rather than expecting conceptions to occur as a byproduct of teaching strategies.

Sarieddine & BouJaoude, (2014), observed some researchers established the relationship between teachers’ conceptions of nature of science and their classroom practices (Abd-El-Khalick, Bell &Ledeman, (1998); Bartholomew, Osborne, &Ratclife, (2004); Brik house 1990; Tasar (2013). It was noted and emphasized that sufficient levels of understanding of the characteristics of science is of practical importance in guiding teachers in executing their instructional roles.

Serdar Koksal & Tunc Sahin (2013) observed that science concepts, science process kills and COS are the necessary contents of information which build scientific literacy skills in individuals. This information suggests that knowledge of COS is a requirement for any individual, that is, a teacher or student in comprehending a given science work or activities. This would be expected to empower a teacher during lesson preparation and up to the lesson delivery time. It is what has been illustrated in the conceptual model (Figure 2.1), where a teachers’ good instructional roles performance is the result of the teacher’s good level of COS aspects.

A number of scholars argue against these conceptions. Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, (2000a) Norm G. Lederman et al. (2002), explain that a number of factors affect the transfer of science information also relate to the teachers’ specific- subject knowledge of pedagogy, constraints of the institutions, time, students’ ability and home economic factors.

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Details

Titel
Investigating Tutors’ Understanding of the Characteristics of Science and Influence on Instructional Roles’ Performance. A Case of Five Primary Teacher Training Colleges in Northern Uganda
Autor
Seiten
80
Katalognummer
V1267811
ISBN (Buch)
9783346741080
Sprache
Deutsch
Schlagworte
investigating, tutors’, understanding, characteristics, science, influence, instructional, roles’, performance, case, five, primary, teacher, training, colleges, northern, uganda
Arbeit zitieren
Patrick Okec (Autor:in), Investigating Tutors’ Understanding of the Characteristics of Science and Influence on Instructional Roles’ Performance. A Case of Five Primary Teacher Training Colleges in Northern Uganda, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1267811

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