Towards Building Authentic Understandings of Contemporary Science Practices for Science Educators

Greg Lancaster, Lisa Anne Fazio, Joanne Lee Burke, Deborah Joy Corrigan, David Thomas Overton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


ReMSTEP is a collaborative initiative involving four partner universities funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The project aims to promote the reconceptualising of Mathematics and Science Teacher Education Programs by fostering partnerships between scientists and educators to improve confidence and competence in teaching STEM education. One response developed by the Faculties of Science and Education at Monash University has been the design of a masters unit to assist pre-service and in-service science teachers to explore the practices of contemporary science and examine how varied understandings can influence science communication. This unit was designed to encourage teachers to explore their current understandings of the Nature of Science (NoS) and to contrast their views with those known to be widely held by society (Cobern & Loving, 1998). Teachers are challenged through constructing visual representations about contemporary science practice which reflect their altered understandings of NoS and provide insights into the thinking that shaped their design. In order to build authentic understandings of contemporary science practice each student ‘shadows’ a research scientist and engages them in conversations intended to explore the scientists’ views of NoS and practice as mapped against a framework of five levels of science cognitive engagement. Preliminary findings suggest that teachers were initially uncomfortable with the challenge of constructing visual representations to express ideas. Teachers were also surprised how diverse the views of NoS can be, even among scientists and their peers, and that these views can directly impact on ways of communicating contemporary science practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe European Conference on Education 2016
Subtitle of host publicationOfficial Conference Proceedings
EditorsBernard Montoneri
PublisherInternational Academic Forum (IAFOR)
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
EventEuropean Conference on Education 2016 - The Jurys Inn, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jun 20163 Jul 2016


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Education 2016
Abbreviated titleECE 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • STEM Education
  • The Nature of Science
  • Contemporary sciences practices

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