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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Behaviour pattern of a science teacher in teaching the nature of science Anamuah-Mensah, Jophus


The general focus of the study was to describe the behaviour patterns used by a science teacher in his normal teaching that contribute to the teaching of science and to develop hypotheses about some of the factors contributing to these behaviours. The specific questions posed in this study were: 1) Over a period of time, what behaviour patterns does a science teacher use in his normal teaching in different classroom settings that contribute to the teaching of the nature of science? 2) What are some of the variables underlying any observed behaviour pattern within each setting over the period of the study? 3) Which classroom settings does the teacher make the most use of for teaching the nature of science? The patterns (both general and situation specific) of the teacher's behaviour were determined through an analysis of verbal and non-verbal behaviour using a modification of the Classroom Observation Instrument developed for the Earth Science Curriculum Project. This instrument defines four classroom settings, namely, the developing text material setting, the pre-lab setting, the laboratory setting and the post-lab discussion. Data on the factors contributing to these patterns were collected through a formal pre-study interview and through daily observation of the classroom and discussion with the teacher. In particular data were collected on the teacher's intents, the teacher's perception of his students, availability of materials, the topics for the lessons, etc. In addition, data were collected on other factors which emerged during the observation and discussions with the teacher. One major conclusion of the study was that the teacher used both general (or recurrent) behaviours and situation specific behaviours in each classroom setting during the three-week study. Some of the general behaviours observed in the different classroom settings were as follows: During the developing text material setting, students were observed to participate in the lessons only through responding to the teacher's questions and there was a neglect of the philosophical limitations of science. In the pre-lab, students were never observed to identify and state the problem or hypothesis for investigation. During the lab sessions, the students were observed to ask questions and contribute ideas while the teacher moved around the groups asking questions and giving direct answers to students' questions. During the post-lab discussion, apart from drawing conclusions and predictions, students were not observed to communicate with other students or to provide critical and speculative analysis of their data. The findings were found to reflect such interactive factors as (1) the prescriptive structure of the text, (2) the topics for the lessons, (3) the duration of the lessons, (4) the teacher's perception of the students, (5) the pressure to complete the topics in the limited time available, and (6) the teacher's approach which reflected the structure of the text, the duration of the lessons and the pressure to complete the topics in a limited time. An analysis of the data, indicated that the teacher used the laboratory setting most and the pre-lab least for teaching the nature of science.

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