Although it is difficult to make a common definition for science as a multi-faceted, complex synthesis and a wide research area, Science is reviewing and explaining the assets and events in a field, generalization of them and finding the principles, and striving to predict future events with the help of these principles (Kaptan & Korkmaz, 1999).Science is the effort of the human to understand and explain the physical universe (Turkmen, 2006).Science is based on the study of patterns in the physical universe and is a knowledge of society (Mickens &Patterson, 2016). Through the technology that facilitates our lives, a more modern society can be grown with conscious and qualified individuals who are curious about developments in science, can use scientific information correctly, examine the source and limits of information in depth and investigate how it is structured (Dursun & Özmen, 2018). Science related courses that provide the basic level of science knowledge in the field of science and technology. When we examine the science education programs in our country, we see that the vision of ensuring that all individuals are educated as science literate (MEB, 2004, 2013, & 2018). In this context, there isalso a general consensus in science education literature in order to develop students’ views on the nature of science (NOS) (McDonald, 2010). The nature of science explains the epistemology of science, the scientific pathways, the values and beliefs inherent in scientific knowledge and development (Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, 2012). In addition to the development of students’ understanding through the inclusion of the teaching of the nature of science in the science programs, it is also important to develop to the teachers’ understanding of the NOS who will implement the program. To have knowledge about the NOS of the teachers ensures that the students will be more useful in understanding scientific knowledge (İflazoğlu Saban & Saban, 2014; Kubilay Tatar & Özenoğlu, 2018). Yüce and Önel (2015) stated that problems in scientific process skills and the NOS have been experienced in our country. Therefore, in the study the effect of the argumentation and scientific process skills based activities on the NOS was examined.
The aim of this research was to determine the effect of argumentation and science process skill based experimental design methods on the understanding of NOS of prospective science teachers. The following question is examined:
- Was there a significant difference between the working group that conducts argumantation based chemistry experiment designs and the working groups that conduct experimental design for scientific process skills in terms of the nature of science?
The research was conducted with 71 prospective science teachers using a pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design. Two study groups were determined as argument based chemistry experiment group (ABG) (n=34) and science process skill based chemistry experimet groups (SPSG) (n=37). A Likert type Nature of Scientific Knowledge Scale which was developed by Rubba and Anderson (1978) and adopted into Turkish by Kılıç, Sungur, Çakıroğlu, and Tekkaya (2005) include 48 items, was used as pre- and post-test to determine the both groups’ understanding of NOS. The Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient was found as. 74 in original study and as. 77 in the current study. The application lasted 7 weeks. Each week during the study period, two hours of application was made to the ABG and SPSG.During the process of the study, the ABG has designed argumentation based chemistry experiments, while the SPSG has designed experiments for the achievements of the Nature of Matter units included in the 2018 Science Course Curriculum. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, dependent and independent sample t-tests, and Cohen’s size effect size using the SPSS 15.00 program at .05 significant levels.
Prior to the study, independent sample t- test was used to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference between the study groups on pre-test scores. No statistically significant difference between the groups was found with respect to prior understanding level of NOS (t=-.210; p<.05) and moral (t=.50; p>.05), creative (t=.88; p<.05), developmental (t=-.17; p<.05) and testable t=.36 p<.05) dimensions. These results showed that both the ABG and SPSG pre-service teachers were similar at the beginning of the study in terms of their total scores on NOS understanding level.
After the study, it was found that there were significance differences between the understanding of NOS test scores of pre-service science teachers in the two groups using the independent sample t-test analysis (t=2.45; p<.05). At the same time, there was a significant difference between the groups in favor of the ABG with the moral (t=2.09; p<.05) and unified dimensions (t=2.56; p<.05). According to this, it can be said that the group that is based on argumentation chemistry experiment designs is statistically significantly higher than the ones who have experimental designs for scientific process skills. When the effect size is considered, it is seen that there is a large difference in moral dimension (d =.80), and modarate difference in the unified dimension (d =.64) and overall scale (d=.59).
To determine whether there was a significant difference within the groups before and after the study, t-test was applied for the dependent samples.There was a significant difference between pre-test (x = 173.41) and post-test (x = 177.82) results in the ABG (t = 83.20, p <.05).According to this result, it can be said that the argumentation based chemistry experiment designing had a positive effect on the pre-service science teachers’ understanding of NOS. However, the effect size is low (d = 0.35).
It was observed in the SPSG, that there was a statistically significant and negative difference between the results in the post-test compared to the pretest (t = 64.91; p <.05).The effect size value is seen to be low (d=.32). From this point of view, it can be said that the science process skill based experimental design applications did not have a positive effect on the pre-service teachers’ understanding of the NOS.
The results obtained from the study show that the argumentation-based experiment design method is more effective than the science process skill based experimental design method on the NOS understanding. These results support Kutluca, Çetin and Doğan (2014) ‘s views that the most effective way of teaching science is through argumentation. This is because students are involved in a dynamic thinking and discussion process during argumentation (Simon, Erduran, & Osborne, 2006).In addition, argumentation leads students to conceptually combine, to think scientifically, to reason and to contribute to the development of higher-order thinking skills (Demirel, 2015).Argumentation-based science education has been shown to be effective in understanding the nature of science (Balci, 2015; Boran, 2014; Khishfe, 2012; Kutluca, 2016; Tümay & Köseoğlu, 2010; McDonald, 2010).
In the SPSG, when the experiments that the teacher candidates designed during the application process were examined; basic science process skills were used more intensively, whereas integrated process skills were used less frequently.Similarly, Korucuoğlu (2008) and Kandemir and Yılmaz (2012) found that scientific process skills development was moderate in their studies with prospective teachers. Aktaş and Ceylan (2016) observed that science teacher candidates’ ability to identify variables and to define operational variables was lower level and form hypotheses was moderate level.Kozcu Çakır and Sarıkaya (2018) stated that pre-service scince teachers had difficulty in forming and interpreting hypotheses, determining variables, recording and identifying data, reading and interpreting the graph, designing experiments, and interpreting experimental results,Therefore, we can say that the science process skill based experiment designing method didnot contribute to the development of the understanding of the NOS of pre-service science teachers.
The results obtained from the study show that the argumentation-based experiment design method is more effective on the NOS understanding. This is because the students are involved in a dynamic thinking and discussion process during argumentation (Simon, Erduran and Osborne, 2006). In addition, argumentation leads students to conceptually combine, to think scientifically, to reason and to contribute to the development of higher-order thinking skills (Demirel, 2015).Pabuçcu (2018) emphasizes that in order to help science teachers to associate chemistry concepts with daily life, it is important to teach them how to conduct high-quality scientific discussions and to create learning environments that will allow science teacher candidates to make scientific discussions.
Argumentation-based science education has been shown to be effective in understanding the NOS in many studies (Balci, 2015; Boran, 2014; Khishfe, 2012; Kutluca, 2016; Tümay & Köseoğlu, 2010; McDonald, 2010).Keles and Hand (2017) stated that the questions that explain the students’ experiments were the beginning of the argumentation. In this study, the teacher candidates in the ABG group developed and discussed argument questions about the experiments. In summary, the argumentation method is effective in teaching the nature of science through multidimensional inquiry in an active discussion environment. In this context, the argumentation activities applied to pre-service teachers contribute to the positive change of their views on the nature of science and develop the skills of forming arguments. In this study, it was seen that basic science process skill based experiment designing did not contribute to the prospective teachers’ views on the nature of science. It is thought that using integrated science process skills when designing experiments would be contributed to the development of higher-order thinking skills and to develop a positive understanding of the nature of science.
Keywords:Argumentation, nature of science, science process skills, scienc education, teacher education
Note:This article is adapted from the first author’s master thesis dissertation titled “the effect of the argumantation based chemistry experiment designing on pre-service science teachers’ understanding of nature of science” submitted to Bursa Uludağ University under the supervision of Assoc.Prof. Dr. Zehra Ozdilek