Abd-El-Khalick Ackerson - IJSE 2009

The Influence of Metacognitive Training on Preservice Elementary Teachers' Conceptions of Nature of Science
International Journal of Science Education

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick; Valarie Akerson

This study assessed the influence of training in, and use of, metacognitive strategies on the development of prospective elementary teachers' views of nature of science (NOS). Participants were 49 students (92% female) enrolled in two sections of an elementary science methods course. The sections were randomly assigned to an intervention group and a comparison group. Students in both groups were engaged with explicit-reflective NOS instruction, which focused on the empirical, tentative, theory-driven, inferential, and creative NOS. Additionally, students in the intervention group received instruction in, and used, three metacognitive strategies during their engagement with thinking about NOS. The Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire—Form C and the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory were respectively used to assess participants' views of NOS and metacognitive awareness at the beginning and conclusion of the study. Data analyses indicated that significantly more students in the intervention group explicated more informed views of the target aspects of NOS. Moreover, these substantial changes were coupled with significantly increased Metacognitive Awareness Inventory scores for the intervention group participants. The results point to a relationship between improved metacognitive awareness and the development of informed understandings of NOS.