Stories of science: an auto/biographical study in primary science

PhD Thesis

Remnant, H. 2018. Stories of science: an auto/biographical study in primary science. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education
AuthorsRemnant, H.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

This auto/biographical study examines a current dominant narrative within primary science. This concerns the often-reported connexion between subject knowledge and the impact this has on teacher confidence and consequently to pupils’ attitudes to science and to the pipeline of potential future scientists. A detailed analysis of the primary science literature and reports such as Wellcome Trust (2017) has questioned this link.

Using an auto/biographical approach enabled me to utilise the personal narratives of successful science educators by listening to, and discussing with them, their life stories of science. These stories demonstrated their understanding of effective primary science teaching. Importantly, differences emerged, which related to individual understandings of the nature of science. Consequently, teachers who receive advice from these educators are provided with diverse interpretations of effective science teaching.

Hearing these stories led me to also question my own beliefs of science, particularly how knowledge is created and shared. I undertook this development using Living theory as a frame. (Whitehead, 1987). As a result, two models were created to support the analysis; the first dealt with the classification of knowledge, a Horizontal and Vertical Structure of knowledge (HVSK) and the second focused on knowledge construction, the Sphere of Knowledge Construction (SKC).

The recommendations from this thesis apply equally to qualified teachers and those training to be teachers. Firstly, models of knowledge classification should be used to discuss individual knowledge creation in initial and continuing teacher education. Secondly, stories of the sciences should play a central role in understanding the problems and the challenges that are inherent in the creation of understanding. Thirdly, opportunities should be provided for teachers and student teachers to be supported in science by significant others through practitioner-expert communities. Fourthly, research should be carried out into approaches that provide access to the stories of science without enforcing a science worldview.

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Publication process dates
Deposited19 Mar 2019
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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