Procedia s+bs template_wces_2013 (new)

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Procedia s+bs template_wces_2013 (new)

  1. 1. Procedia Social and Behavioral SciencesProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 00 (2013) 000–000 www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia WCES 2013 The Nature of Science Represented in Thai Biology Textbooks under the Topic of Evolution Adchara Chaisri a *, Kongsak Thathong b a A. Chaisri. Science Education, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand b K. Thathong, Department of Science Education, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand Abstract This study aimed to assess the aspects of the nature of science (NoS) that were represented in Thai secondary school Biology textbooks. These textbooks were provided under the framework of Thailand’s national curriculum B.E. 2551 by the Institution for Promoting Science and Technology (IPST). The representation of NoS aspects on evolution topics in the textbooks was analyzed. This study employed a quantitative method for analyzing the representation of NoS. The results indicated that all evolution themes in Thai secondary Biology textbooks had little emphasis on the nature of science and on the explicit-reflective NoS instructional method. These findings suggested that it is necessary for the IPST to reconsider the Thai secondary Biology textbooks, especially the issues related to NoS. © 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Keywords: Nature of Science (NoS), Evolution, Biology Textbook; 1. Introduction The central educational objective of science education worldwide is scientific literacy. This is also the case in Thailand, where scientific literacy is seen at the core of curricular aims of science education. In fact, scientific literacy has developed into an umbrella term covering most aims of science education (Laugksch 2000). The nature of science (NoS) is an important element of scientific literacy that students should be encouraged to develop through their schooling. An understanding of NoS can function as a powerful means of developing various aspects of science students’ education, and can help students to better understand scientific content, as well as maintain a positive attitude towards science and scientific attitudes (McComas et al. 1998). NoS is widely considered to be an integral part of scientific literacy and one of the central aims of science education (Matthews 2004). NoS itself can be seen in the intersection of four fields of science studies: philosophy of science, history of science, sociology of science and psychology of science (McComas and Olson 1998). Science educators think of textbooks as instructional resources that support teachers in planning and delivering science instruction to meet local and national curricular standards (Chiappetta & Koballa, 2002). However, it is an undeniable reality that in the larger majority of classrooms, textbooks become the curriculum and determine, to a much larger extent than desired by science educators, what is taught and learned about science in these classrooms (Chiappetta, Ganesh, Lee, & Phillips, 2006; Rieff, Harwood, & Phillipson, 2002; Shiland, 1997). Chiappetta et al. * Adchara Chaisri. Ph.D.student, Tel.: +6-684-956-6233 E-mail address: adchara.bio@gmail.com
  2. 2. Author name / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 00 (2013) 000–000 2 (2006) and Weiss, Banilower, McMahon, and Smith (2001) noted that more than 90% of secondary school science teachers rely on textbooks to organize and deliver instruction and assign homework (Valverde, Bianchi, Schmidt, McKnight, & Wolfe, 2002). As teachers often rely on textbooks to organize teaching, they are one of the most important science teaching resources (Yager 1996; Ahtineva 2000). As an integral part of scientific literacy, NoS has become a popular topic in textbook analysis (e.g. Niaz 2000; Rodriguez and Niaz 2002; Williams 2002). Although most descriptions of NoS have described things relevant to all fields of natural sciences, recently research on NoS has been more and more influenced by domain specific knowledge of scientific knowledge and enterprises. Textbooks are an influential component among the elements of school science, as they greatly influence the content taught (Yager, 1996). There seems to be little question regarding the importance of textbooks in science teaching (Chiappetta, Sethna, & Fillman, 1993). In school science, the textbook is accepted as the ultimate source of knowledge, provides themajority of instructional support beyond the teacher, and in many cases actually becomes the curriculum (Stake & Easley, 1978). Many science teachers, new teachers in particular, use the assigned textbook as their content outline and story line for their courses (Chiappetta et al., 1993). A research study by Chiang-Soong and Yager (1993) revealed that more than 80% of science teachers in the research sample used their textbooks in excess of 90% of the time. Reliance on textbooks is more apparent when teachers are teaching outside their own area of expertise (Stern & Roseman, 2004). Furthermore, students expected the textbook to be used as the source of nearly all information and as the framework from which all science was to be experienced (Chiang-Soong & Yager, 1993). The case of NoS, the impact of textbooks gains significance because very few, if any, commercially viable science textbooks have been recently designed specifically to help pre-college students develop informed NoS conceptions as emphasized in current science education reform documents. Earlier attempts to develop such textbooks and curricula (e.g., Holton, 1981; Klopfer &Cooley, 1963; Rutherford, Holton,& Watson, 1975) Phillips and Chiappetta (2007) investigated 12 middle school science textbooks to examine whether they presented a balanced view of NOS. Comparing to the previous research, analysis revealed that the textbooks devoted a higher proportion of content to science as a way of investigating and science as a way of thinking. Gibbs and Lawson (1992), using a qualitative approach, assessed 14 college textbooks and 8 high school textbooks to explore how the nature of scientific thinking was reflected in these textbooks. Detailed analysis revealed that (a) a very small segment was devoted to the processes of science and scientific thinking and this was not integrated with other segments, (b) the authors appeared not to understand processes of science well, and therefore, (c) most authors conveyed an incorrect relationship among scientific hypotheses, theories, and laws. In Thailand, the new Thai curriculum is standards based and consists of eight learning strands. Specifically, NoS is explicitly included in Learning Sub-strand 8 of the Science Learning Strand: Nature of Science and Technology. Ministry of Education 2008 . The Biology textbook has been assigned by the Thai Ministry of National Education as the primary textbook in all secondary schools, so millions of students use this textbook as the primary source of nearly all information about NoS. Apart from this, there are also other textbooks available for students in Thailand, which are published by independent publishers. In addition, very little empirical research has been dedicated to assessing how NoS is actually represented in commercial science textbooks, and in what ways and the extent to which publishers have responded to the reforms discourse related to NoS. Science textbook analyses have mainly focused on representations of scientific literacy themes (e.g., Chiappetta et al., 1991) and the historical accuracy of the treatment of specific science concepts (e.g., Brito, Rodriguez, &Niaz, 1995). Thus, This study aimed to assess the aspects of the nature of science (NoS) that were represented in Thai secondary school Biology textbooks. The study was guided by the following questions: How is NoS represented in high school Biology textbooks? 2. Methods The dominant strategies employed for analysis of textbooks have been those associated with quantitative methodology. The present study adopted a structured, document analysis approach. Thai secondary school Biology textbooks were provided under the framework of Thailand’s national curriculum B.E. 2551 by the Institution for Promoting Science and Technology (IPST) were analyzed using a structured scheme and associated scoring rubric, which were develop for the purpose of this study. Abd-El-Khalick et al., 2008)
  3. 3. Author name / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 00 (2013) 000–000 3 2.1 Analytical Framework NoS and approaches to addressing NoS instructionally served as bases for the analytical framework used in this study. Adapted from Abd-El-Khalick (1998). Table 1 Explication of the NoS aspects targeted in the analysis of the Biology textbooks NoS aspect Dimensions emphasized in textbook analysis Empirical Scientific claims are derived from, and/or consistent with, observations of natural phenomena. Scientists, however, do not have ‘‘direct’’ access to most natural phenomena: their observations are almost always filtered through the human perceptual apparatus, mediated by the assumptions underlying the functioning of ‘‘scientific’’ instruments, and/or interpreted from within elaborate theoretical frameworks Inferential There is a crucial distinction between observations and inferences. Observations are descriptive statements about natural phenomena that are accessible to the senses (or extensions of the senses) and about which observers can reach consensus with relative ease. Inferences, on the other hand, are statements about phenomena that are not directly accessible to the senses. Scientific constructs, such as gravity, are inferential in the sense that they can only be accessed and/or measured through their manifestations or effects Tentative Scientific knowledge is reliable and durable, but never absolute or certain. All categories of knowledge (‘‘facts,’’ theories, laws, etc.) are subject to change. Scientific claims change as new evidence, made possible through conceptual and technological advances, is brought to bear; as extant evidence is reinterpreted in light of new or revised theoretical ideas; or due to changes in the cultural and social spheres or shifts in the directions of established research programs Theory-laden Scientists’ theoretical and disciplinary commitments, beliefs, prior knowledge, training, and expectations influence their work. These background factors affect scientists’ choice of problems to investigate and methods of investigations, observations , and interpretation of these observations. This individuality or mind-set accounts for the role of theory in generating scientific knowledge. Contrary to common belief, science never starts with neutral observations. Like investigations, observations are always motivated and guided by, and acquire meaning in light of questions and problems derived from, certain theoretical perspectives Creative and imaginative Science is not an entirely rational or systematic activity. Generating scientific knowledge involves human creativity in the sense of scientists inventing explanations and theoretical entities. The creative NOS, coupled with its inferential nature, entail that scientific entities are functional theoretical models rather than faithful copies of ‘‘reality’’ Distinction between scientific theories and laws laws are descriptive statements of relationships among observable phenomena. Theories,by contrast, are inferred explanations for observable phenomena or regularities in those phenomena. Contrary to common belief, theories and laws are not hierarchically related . Theories and laws are different kinds of knowledge and one does not become the other.Theories are as legitimate a product of science as laws Social and cultural Science is a human enterprise embedded and practiced in the context of a larger cultural milieu.Thus, science affects and is affected by various cultural elements and spheres, including social fabric, worldview, power structures, philosophy, religion, and political and economic factors. Such effects are manifested, among other things, through public funding for scientific research and, in some cases, in the very nature of ‘‘acceptable’’ explanations of natural phenomena.
  4. 4. Author name / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 00 (2013) 000–000 4 2.2 Selection of Materials for Analysis The researchers sought to base the selection of Thai secondary school Biology textbooks. Selection of chapters and sections for analysis. Analyses focused on chapters or sections that cover ‘‘the scientific method,’’ ‘‘the scientific process,’’ ‘‘how science works,’’ etc. and topics related to evolution topic. Scoring Rubric A detailed scoring rubric was developed for purposes of this study adapted from Abd-El-Khalick (2008). The rubric targeted the aforementioned 7 aspects of NoS (see Table 1). In other words, the score assigned to a specific NoS aspect within a textbook was based on an examination of all materials relevant to that aspect within the examined textual materials. Scores were assigned in accordance with the following rubric : (a) 3 points = Explicit, informed, and consistent representation of the target NoS aspect: (i) explicit statements that convey an informed representation, (ii) consistency across the selected chapters or sections in addressing the target NoS aspect, and (iii) consistency in addressing other directly related NoS aspects. (b) 2 points = Explicit, partially informed representation of the target NoS aspect: (i) explicit statements that convey an informed, but incomplete representation, and (ii) consistency across the selected chapters or sections in representing the target NoS aspect. An incomplete representation derives from the textbook materials remaining silent in terms of addressing other related NoS aspects that ensure a complete informed representation. (c) One point = Implicit, informed, and consistent representation of the target NoS aspect: (i) an informed representation of the target NoS aspect could be inferred from the textbook materials (e.g., relevant explanations, activities, examples, or historical episodes lacking structured, reflective prompts or explicit statements), and (ii) absence of other explicit or implicit messages that are inconsistent with the inferred implicit representation. 2.2 Analysis Procedures: Validity and Reliability of the Scoring Rubric The validity of the rubric stems from its conceptual and empirical grounding. To start with, the NoS framework and aspects targeted by the rubric have been emphasized in current science education reform documents as central to developing functional levels of scientific literacy (e.g., AAAS, 1990; NRC, 1996). 3. Results In order to show that Percentages (and frequencies) of NoS dimensions represented in the theme of science as a way of thinking in table 2 present scores for the 7 target NoS aspects in the analyzed textbooks. Table 2. Percentages (and frequencies) of NoS dimensions represented in the theme of science as a way of thinking Empirical (EMP), Inferential (INF), Tentative (TEN), Theory-laden (THL), Creative and imaginative (CRI), Distinction between scientific theories and laws (DTL), Social and cultural (SOC) Unit of Textbook NoS dimensions EMP INF TEN THL CRI DTL SOC Unit 1 Sub unit = 5 26% 30 21% 24 11% 12 4% 5 25% 28 3% 3 11% 12 Unit 2 Sub unit = 2 18% 21 10% 12 17% 20 10% 12 17% 20 10% 12 16% 18 Unit 3 Sub unit = 3 12% 10 12% 10 7% 6 27% 22 15% 12 20% 16 6% 5 Unit 4 Sub unit = 5 21% 18 24% 20 12% 10 19% 16 14% 12 6% 5 4% 3 Unit 5 Sub unit = 2 24% 24 27% 26 21% 21 8% 8 6% 6 10% 10 3% 3 Unit 6 Sub unit = 2 27% 26 10% 10 24% 24 5% 5 10% 10 3% 3 20% 20
  5. 5. Author name / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 00 (2013) 000–000 5 The results indicated that all evolution themes in Thai secondary Biology textbooks had little emphasis on the nature of science and on the explicit-reflective NoS instructional method. 4. Discussion, Conclusions and Implications Findings of this research are in accord with previous studies that looked at avariety of aspects of scientific literacy in curriculum materials. The investigation revealed a number of problems with the way NoS is portrayed in the Biology textbooks. Discussions regarding NoS usually occupied a very small segment of the textbooks and were not integrated with other chapters. Including the other segments of the textbooks, science was generally portrayed as a collection of facts, not as a dynamic process of generating and testing alternative explanations about nature Irez, S. 2008). All textbooks presented the idea that there is a universal and structured method in science. Such an inadequate description was supported by stereotypical portrayal of scientists, and the textbook authors either neglected the idea that imagination and creativity permeate science or claimed that the involvement of creative thinking and imagination is limited to certain stages in scientific investigations. The authors of the textbooks often appeared not to understand the processes well enough to explain them to students and therefore presented various misleading and inadequate descriptions regarding scientific enterprise, similar to those revealed by research on science teachers’ and students’ understandings of science. The analysis showed that the majority of these inadequate descriptions were concentrated on two aspects of NoS: Theory-laden and the tentative nature of scientific knowledge. This study need is based on the well documented and significant impact that science textbooks have on teaching and learning in the majority of classrooms (Chiappetta et al., 2006; Weiss et al., 2001). As noted earlier, most likely to the dislike of science education researchers, the reality is such that textbooks determine student experiences with school science to a large extent (Valverde et al., 2002). Textbooks also embody the curriculum and set priorities for classroom teachers. The present results show that NoS was not a consistent thread, let alone a central or organizing theme, in the analyzed textbooks. Furthermore, assessment in science education, It is only with this holistic approach that better science textbooks that actually support learning of worthwhile ideas and help teachers build their own content and pedagogical knowledge can be prepared. The results indicated that all evolution themes in Thai secondary Biology textbooks had little emphasis on the nature of science and on the explicit-reflective NoS instructional method. These findings suggested that it is necessary for the IPST to reconsider the Thai secondary Biology textbooks, especially the issues related to NoS. Acknowledgements This research was funded by Institution for Promoting Science and Technology (IPST), Thailand. Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. References Abd-El-Khalick, F. (1998). The influence of history of science courses on students’ conceptions of the nature of science. Unpublished doctoral dissertation Oregon State University, Oregon. Abd-El-Khalick, F., Bell, R.L., & Lederman, N.G. (1998). The nature of science and instructional practice: Making the unnatural natural. Science Education, 82(4), 417–436. Abd-El-Khalick, F., Waters, M., & Le, A.-P. (2008). Representations of nature of science in high school chemistry textbooks over the past four decades. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45, 835–855. Ahtineva, A. (2000). Oppikirja—tiedon va¨litta¨ja¨ ja opintojen innoittaja?. Turku: University of Turku. American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1990). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press. Brito, A., Rodriguez, M.A., & Niaz, M. (1995). A reconstruction of development of the periodic table based on history and philosophy of science and its implications for general chemistry textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 84–111. Chiang-Soong, B., & Yager, R.E. (1993). Readability levels of the science textbooks most used in secondary schools. School Science and Mathematics, 93, 24–27.
  6. 6. Author name / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 00 (2013) 000–000 6 Chiappetta, E.L., Ganesh, T.G., Lee, Y.H., & Phillips, M.C. (2006). Examination of science textbook analysis research conducted on textbooks published over the past 100 years in the United States. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco, CA. Chiappetta, E.L., & Koballa, T. (2002). Science instruction in the middle and secondary schools(5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. Chiappetta, E.L., Sethna, G.H., & Fillman, D.A. (1991). A quantitative analysis of high school chemistry textbooks for scientific literacy themes and expository learning aids. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30, 787–797. Davis, R.E., Metcalfe, H.C., Williams, J.E., & Castka, J.F. (2002). Modern chemistry. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Duschl, R.A. (1985). Science education and philosophy of science: Twenty-five years of mutually exclusive development. School Science and Mathematics, 85(7), 541–555. Gibbs, A., & Lawson, A. E. (1992). The nature of scientific thinking as reflected by the work of biologists & by biology textbooks. The American Biology Teacher, 54(3), 137 – 152. Irez, S. (2008). Nature of Science as Depicted in Turkish Biology Textbooks. Science Education ,93,422-447. Laugksch, R. C. (2000). Scientific literacy: A conceptual overview. Science Education, 84, 71–94. Lederman, N.G. (1999). Teachers’ understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice:Factors that facilitate or impede the relationship. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(8), 916–929. Matthews, M. R. (2004). Thomas Kuhn’s impact on science education: What lessons can be learned? Science Education, 88, 90–118. McComas, W. F., Clough, M. P., & Almazroa, H. (1998). The role and character of the nature of science in science education. In W. F. McComas (Ed.), The nature of science in science education: Rationales and strategies (pp. 3–29). Dordrecht: Kluwer. McComas, W. F., & Olson, J. K. (1998). The nature of science in international science education documents. In W. F. McComas (Ed.), The nature of science in science education: Rationales and strategies (pp. 41–52). Dordrecht: Kluwer. Ministry of Education. 2008 . Basic Education Curriculum B.E. 2551 2008 The Printing House of Express Transportation Organiztion of Thailand, Bangkok. National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academic Press. Niaz, M. (2000). A rational reconstruction of the kinetic molecular theory of gases based on history and philosophy of science and its implications for chemistry textbooks. Instructional Science, 28, 23–50. Phillips, M. C., & Chiappetta, E. L. (2007, April). Do middle school science textbooks present a balanced view of the nature of science? Paper presented at the annual meeting of National Association for Research in Science Teaching, New Orleans, LA. Phillips, J.S., Strozak, V.S., & Wistrom, C. (2006). Chemistry concepts and applications. Chicago, IL: McGraw Hill Glencoe. Rieff, R., Harwood, W.S., & Phillipson, T. (2002). A scientific method based upon research scientists’ conceptions of scientific inquiry. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 465 618). Rodriguez, M.A., & Niaz, M. (2002). How in spite of the rhetoric, history of chemistry has been ignored in presenting atomic structure in textbooks. Science and Education, 11, 423–441. Rosenthal, D.B. (1984). Social issues in high school biology textbooks: 1963–1983. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 21, 819–931. Stake, R. E., & Easley, J. A. (1978). Case studies in science education. Urbana: University of Illinois Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation. Stern, L.,&Roseman, J. (2004).Can middle school science textbooks help students learn important ideas? Findings from Project 2061’s curriculum evaluation study: Life science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(6), 538 – 568. Valverde, G.A., Bianchi, L.J., Schmidt, W.H., McKnight, C.C., & Wolfe, R.G. (2002). According to the book: Using TIMSS to investigate the translation of policy into practice in the world of textbooks. Dordrecht,The Netherlands: Kluwer. Weiss, I.R., Banilower, E.R., McMahon, K.C., & Smith, P.S. (2001). Report of the 2000 national survey of science and mathematics education. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research. Williams, J. D. (2002). Ideas and evidence in science: The portrayal of scientists in GCSE textbooks. School Science Review, 84(307), 89–101. Yager, R. E. (1996). Science/technology/society as a reform in science education. Albany, NY: State University Press.

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