Towards Building Science Teachers’ Understandings of Contemporary Science Practices

Authors: Greg Lancaster, Deborah Corrigan, Lisa Fazio, Joanne Burke & David Overton, Monash University, Australia
Published: March 1, 2017

Citation: Lancaster, G., Corrigan, D., Fazio, L., Burke, J., & Overton, D. (2017). Towards Building Science Teachers’ Understandings of Contemporary Science Practices. IAFOR Journal of Education, 5(1).


Faculties of Education and Science at Monash University have designed a Masters unit to assist pre-service and in-service science teachers in exploring the practices of contemporary science and examine how varied understandings can influence science communication. Teachers are encouraged 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 to provide insights into their thinking relating to the NoS. In order to build understandings of contemporary science practice each teacher shadows a research scientist and engages them in conversations intended to explore the scientists’ views of NoS and practice. Findings suggest that teachers were initially uncomfortable with the challenge to express ideas relating to their NoS and were also surprised how diverse the views of NoS can be among teachers, scientists and their peers, and that these views can directly impact ways of communicating contemporary science practice.


scientific practices, the nature of science, science education, STEM workforce