THE COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PROSPECTIVE SCIENCE TEACHERS’ SKILLS OF WRITTEN EXPLANATION

TitleTHE COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PROSPECTIVE SCIENCE TEACHERS’ SKILLS OF WRITTEN EXPLANATION
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsPopov, O, Bogdanov, S
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume4
Issue1
Start Page40-50
Date PublishedMarch/2005
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Other NumbersICID: 452541
Keywordscommunication skills, comparative study, science teacher education, sociocultural context
Abstract

A comparative study of prospective teachers’ pedagogical skills of written communication in science is presented. Russian and Swedish students were asked to give detailed explanations of two simple physical phenomena (how and why the shadow from a tree appears and why the bulb lights in a torch) to a hypothetical Grade 7 pupil. The results of the questionnaire revealed the evident gap between the students’ knowledge per se and their abilities to express didactically their knowledge in written form and in pictures. Undoubtedly this is one of the challenges to teacher educators. The study also revealed the differences between forms and qualities of explanations given by Russian and Swedish students as the result of different pedagogical traditions and communication cultures.
The analysis of the findings from this study shows that the Russian prospective teachers had more problems with seeing themselves in the role of teacher than did the Swedish students. Russian participants of the study tended to answer the questions just as if they were students on a science course. Their explanations tended to be more academic and formalised than is appropriate for a Grade 7 pupil. In our opinion, this reflects the strict and formal style of teaching / learning which still dominates in Russian teacher education. For Russian students and teacher trainers, a correct answer is valued more highly than a good pedagogical form of presentation. Apparently, the skills of reworking knowledge and communication at the appropriate for children level are not systematically practiced in Russian teacher education.
In contrast, in Swedish teacher education, students frequently work in small groups, often practising presentations at the children’s level. They generally feel quite comfortable in acting out different social roles and responsibilities. This reflects the conviction of Swedish teacher educators that learning about science should reflect a participatory and collaborative knowledge generating process. Thus, science education in Sweden is seen as a participatory activity in which teachers and learners share responsibility for learning.

URLhttp://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstracted.php?level=5&icid=452541
Refereed DesignationRefereed