n South African Journal of Higher Education - Relative effects of a history, philosophy and sociology of science course on teachers' understanding of the nature of science and instructional practice

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The impact of globalization resulting from Scientific and Technological (S & T) activities during the last half of the twentieth century has motivated most countries to emphasize the teaching of science right from the primary school level. In the pursuit of this goal, increased pressure has been put upon higher education to train science teachers who are capable of equipping their learners with necessary understanding of the Nature of Science (NOS). However, research has shown that most science teachers hold and convey invalid notions of the NOS to their learners (McComas 2000). The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a university NOS Course (NOSC) in enhancing science teachers' understanding of the NOS and instructional practices. The findings showed that that the teachers who undertook the course were more inclined to present in their classrooms a science that is dynamic, tentative, revisionary and falsifiable rather than one that is infallible or indubitable (e.g. see Schwab 1962; Popper 1968). They also claimed that the NOSC enhanced their instructional practices, though this awaits empirical confirmation.

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