University of Limerick Institutional Repository

Exploring the nature of science as an academic discipline in an undergraduate science education programme and implications for the integration of education for sustainable development

DSpace Repository

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor O'Flaherty, Joanne
dc.contributor.advisor Parker-Jenkins, Marie Hogan, Deirdre 2020-09-23T14:33:04Z 2020-09-23T14:33:04Z 2020
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Education is a powerful means by which to explore key development issues of the time with a view to taking action for positive social change. The inclusion of sustainability themes in the Junior Cycle Framework, and specifically within the Junior Cycle Science Specification is indicative of the potential that exists to consider sustainable development from personal, local and global perspectives within the teaching and learning of science. It is important that postprimary science teachers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to teach for justice and sustainability in a manner that is consistent with the nature of science (NOS) as it is understood within the academic discipline. This research explores the NOS as an academic discipline as it is lived and perceived within the teaching of an undergraduate Science Education programme in a Higher Education Institution (HEI). In doing so, it provides recommendations for the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into teaching on that programme. Using ethnographic principles and perspectives the study looks at the structure, culture, values and ethics associated with science within the educational setting. Drawing upon interviews with 11 teacher educators, focus groups with 21 pre-service teachers and observations from lectures, laboratory sessions and field trips, this research provides an account of how science is perceived, enacted, communicated and taught within the programme. When mapped in parallel with literature on the nature and structure of ESD, it allows for the generation of recommendations on how ESD might be integrated in an appropriate and organised way. Analysis of data involved iterative reviews, categorising and coding, and resulted in the emergence of three key themes associated with the research question and with a strong bearing on considerations for integrating ESD. The first focused on the “Structure and Nature of Scientific Knowledge”, showing it to be vast, expansive, changing and categorised into numerous sub-disciplinary areas. It is presented to pre-service teachers in a manner that is general, diluted, strongly framed and largely prescriptive, with a focus on content knowledge rather than skills development. Challenges to teacher educators include the packaging of knowledge in a form that is comprehensive but not excessive, students’ compartmentalisation of knowledge, students’ assessment focus and the intensive nature of the programme. The second theme highlighted the “Culture of Science” within the research context, showing particular ways of thinking, talking, being, doing and communicating. It showed only partial enculturation of pre-service teachers in comparison to their postgraduate counterparts, with limited exposure to independent inquiry and the day-to-day challenges of being a practicing scientist. The third dominant category to emerge was “Science and Society”, which reflects ways in which science influences and is influenced by society and includes varying viewpoints on the place of ethics, morals and socio-scientific issues (SSIs) in science and science education. The study provides a number of recommendations for the integration of ESD into the Science Education programme. These included enhancing ESD themes in existing modules; reducing content knowledge and prescriptive approaches; placing a greater emphasis on inquiry-based learning and Problem-based Learning (PBL) for ESD; including SSI in science teaching; developing a stand-alone Science in Society module; and adopting a department wide strategy that promotes ESD. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject science en_US
dc.subject science education en_US
dc.subject academic disciplines en_US
dc.subject education for sustainable development en_US
dc.subject global citizenship en_US
dc.title Exploring the nature of science as an academic discipline in an undergraduate science education programme and implications for the integration of education for sustainable development en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search ULIR


My Account