PCK for Developing Understanding of NOS: A Review of Past Studies

Malhotra, Geetanjali ; Masih, Aejaz


The term ‘Nature of Science’ (NOS) is often used to refer to distinctive characteristics of scientific enterprise and qualities of scientists. An adequate understanding of NOS is crucial for better decision-making and positive scientific attitude. Teachers are expected to develop this understanding among their students for which they themselves require understanding of various aspects of NOS (e.g. scientific knowledge is tentative or science involves creativity). In addition, they need knowledge of how learners’ misconceptions about NOS and scientists can be challenged with the help of appropriate strategies. This knowledge base of teachers is popularly referred to as ‘PCK for NOS’ (Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) for teaching NOS). This knowledge base is complex. How far teachers possess it needs investigation. In the present paper, the authors have provided a review of studies revealing the status of teachers’ PCK for NOS. Firstly, teachers’ understanding of NOS is discussed. Then, the status of science teaching in schools is reviewed. Thereafter, studies specific to PCK for NOS are examined. The factors that influence the teaching of science and NOS are also highlighted. The review reveals that teachers do not understand some important aspects of NOS and hold stereotypical image of scientists. The teaching-learning of science in schools is also not satisfactory and NOS is hardly addressed in science classrooms. However, the intentions and practices of teachers for teaching NOS evidently improve with interventions. Based on the review, the paper concludes that the way science is presented in science classrooms needs to be revisited. It is suggested that Teacher Education Programmes must play their role in developing PCK for NOS among teachers and suitable instruments must be developed for measuring PCK for NOS.


Nature of Science; Pedagogical Content Knowledge; PCK for NOS; Instruments

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