Exploring prospective teachers' worldviews and conceptions of nature of science

Shiang Yao Liu*, Norman G. Lederman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the relationship, if any, between an individual's culturally based worldviews and conceptions of nature of science. In addition, the implications of this relationship (or lack of relationship) for science teaching and learning are discussed. Participants were 54 Taiwanese prospective science teachers. Their conceptions of nature of science and their worldviews specific to humans' relationship with the natural world were assessed using two open-ended questionnaires in conjunction with follow-up interviews. Their understandings of nature of science were classified into informed and naïve categories based upon contemporary views of these constructs and those stressed in international reform documents. An anthropocentric-naturecentric continuum emerged and is used to explain the participants' views about humans' relationship with Nature. Participants who recognized the limitations of scientific knowledge, and accept the idea that science involves subjective and cultural components, were more likely to emphasize harmony with Nature. In contrast, participants who possessed narrow views about the scientific enterprise and described science as close to technology and as of materialistic benefit tended to provide an anthropocentric perspective regarding the human-Nature relationships. The findings illustrate the interplay between participants' sociocultural beliefs and conceptions of nature of science. Concisely, people with different worldviews may have concurrently different views about nature of science. The study suggests the need for incorporating sociocultural perspectives and nature of science in the science curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1307
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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