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Science teaching in upper primary school through the eyes of the practitioners
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4668-3463
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5269-1451
2022 (English)In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 128-142Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Teachers’ own voices have been partially missing in science education research on upper primary school (age 10-12). In order to examine views and experiences of teaching science, we interviewed 14 upper primary teachers. They described science teaching as fun, mainly due to the inherent practical work. The same practical work was also identified by the teachers as the main cause of stress and was therefore conducted less frequently than desired. The data enabled construction of seven teacher roles, closely connected to both their described teaching practices and views on science education. Teachers’ accounts of their science teaching speak of a varied practice with emphasis on practical work and facts, and less articulated descriptions of work to develop students’ abilities to examine and communicate science. The results provide insights into the interactions between teacher views and teaching practices which could prove valuable for improving upper primary science education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 18, no 1, p. 128-142
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-191754DOI: 10.5617/nordina.8320Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85124626895OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-191754DiVA, id: diva2:1631316
Available from: 2022-01-24 Created: 2022-01-24 Last updated: 2024-04-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fröken är lik sin fröken: om vad som påverkar lärares didaktiska vägval och formar NO-undervisningen på mellanstadiet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fröken är lik sin fröken: om vad som påverkar lärares didaktiska vägval och formar NO-undervisningen på mellanstadiet
2024 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
The teacher resembles her teacher : about what influences teachers' didactic choices and shapes science teaching in upper primary school
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about the pedagogical considerations and decisions that upper primary school teachers (students age 10-12) engage with as they plan and conduct teaching in science class. It is also about the factors that have an impact on these considerations and decisions. Science education in upper primary school has been neglected in Sweden and internationally, in both research and development efforts. These years are important because children of upper primary school age are often interested in science, yet they are challenged by for example the presence of more abstract concepts in grade 4 which might negatively affect their science interest. Sociocultural perspectives, curriculum theory, and science didactics are the theoretical points of departure and have guided the planning and implementation of my research as well as the analytical process. By conducting three qualitative studies, consisting of interviews, classroom observations, document reviews, and a practice-based research and development project, I gathered useful and diverse empirical data to enable exploration of current upper primary school science education. 14 teachers were interviewed, an intrinsic case study of one grade six science class’ work on a whole topic (seven weeks) was conducted, and curriculum and planning documents from one teacher were gathered. In addition four science teachers from different grade levels (4-6 and 7-9) were invited and participated in pedagogical discussions to contribute knowledge about teachers’ collaboration on didactical questions related to continuity in science education. I used qualitative thematic and content analysis to analyze the empirical material from the three studies. The results show that upper primary school teachers place a lot of effort and time into planning and conducting a varied science instruction. They also express and show a great deal of care for and encouragement of their students in science class. In terms of factors that have an impact on the pedagogical considerations and decisions of teachers in upper primary school science, all three studies shared the main results. The following aspects were prominent in terms of the teachers’ views and actions: the view of science as a set of static and irrefutable facts, a high regard for the factual content of science curriculum, and varied views of the purpose of practical work in science education. In comparison with previous research, the findings presented in this thesis suggest that teaching practices in upper primary school are often in line with an academic tradition and a view of science as authoritative. Further, the finding that many of the participating teachers often refer to the extensive core content found in science curriculum and emphasize the pressure that this places on them, implies that the purpose of qualification is predominant in their view of the purpose of science education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2024. p. 86
Series
Umeå Studies in the Educational Science, ISSN 2004-8890, E-ISSN 2004-8661 ; 69
Keywords
NO-undervisning, mellanstadiet, läroplan, dialog, samkonstruktion, novel science story, övergångar, praxisgemenskap
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-223717 (URN)978-91-8070-389-5 (ISBN)978-91-8070-390-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-05-17, KBE301 – Lilla hörsalen, KBC-huset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-04-26 Created: 2024-04-24 Last updated: 2024-04-25Bibliographically approved

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Varg, LinaNäs, HelenaOttander, Christina

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