M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentAtamly Nadine
SubjectPerceptions of Pre-Service Arabic Science Teachers about the
Nature of Science and its Teaching
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor DR. Dina Tsybulsky
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


This study deals with pre-service Arabic science teachers' perceptions about the Nature of Science and its teaching from a cultural perspective. The Nature of Science (NOS) addresses issues such as what is science, how science works (including issues of epistemology and ontology), how science impacts and is impacted by society, and what scientists are like in their professional and personal lives. Developing learners’ NOS understanding is considered a way to encourage them to enter the culture of science while acquiring the skills to evaluate scientific research and developments in science and technology. There is evidence that different sociocultural environments produce different   worldviews - defined as composite sets of consciously held and unconsciously held beliefs and values about the nature of reality and the generation of knowledge about it. These worldviews predispose an individual’s thoughts and emotions, and their everyday behaviors and actions, in particular ways. Therefore, the worldviews impact on individuals’ views about science. Even within a particular society, the specific knowledge, beliefs, language, values and aspirations acquired through membership of family and friendship groups may predispose individuals to particular perceptions about science and scientists.

The main goal of the study was to examine pre-service Arabic science teachers' perceptions about the Nature of Science and its teaching from a cultural perspective. The participants of the study were 10 pre-service Arabic female science teachers from Israeli higher education institutions. Participants’ ages ranged between 28 and 37 years old.

The data were collected through ten semi-structured interviews. The data collection process was conducted in Arabic. The interviews were recorded and then transcribed. Excerpts selected for the current work were translated into Hebrew. The data were analyzed inductively by using a thematic analysis. This is a method for identifying, analyzing and interpreting repeated patterns of meanings, themes, within qualitative data.  Themes provide a framework for organizing and reporting the researcher’s analytic observations. The analysis of the interviews identified six themes: (1) the interrelationship between religion and science; (2) the interrelationship between the cultural environment and science; (3) science as a personal and professional leap; (4) science as a general engine of social growth; (5) the importance of experiential learning of the sciences; (6) the teacher's responsibility for experiential learning.

The findings show that teachers believe that nature of science teaching should happen through experiential learning. The findings also demonstrate how the cultural environment has shaped and is still shaping the interviewees' perceptions of education and science through respect, family attribution, and personal choice. As a whole, the family and parents serve as a powerful engine for attainment and progress, although one can hear stress on personal growth as increasingly stronger motivation. While there is often a harmonious relationship between science and religion that complement, strengthen, and explain each other, this bond can also cause certain tension in which religion prevails over science. From the social perspective, it can be seen how science serves the Arab minority as a motivator and catalyst for improving their status in their own eyes and the Jewish society's eyes.