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Exploring how Science Teachers' Views of the Nature and Pedagogy of Science are Affected by their Transition to Engineering (Fundamental)

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-College: Working with Teachers to Improve K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Beau Vezino University of Arizona

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Beau R. Vezino is a Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona’s College of Education. His focus is engineering and science education. Beau currently teaches the science/engineering methods course for pre-service teachers and works on several related research projects. Beau is certified teacher and holds a MS in Education in Curriculum and Instruction (2009) and a BS in Mechanical Engineering (2005). Beau’s research focus involves K-12 teacher education related to engineering. He is the curriculum writer and project coordinator for ENGR101MS.

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With the integration of engineering into the Next Generation Science Standards, many science teachers are asked to understand both engineering and science at the level they will be teaching as well as how to navigate the complex nature of teaching the subjects in an integrated fashion. Research has shown that this poses new barriers and challenges for many K-12 teachers. In this exploratory case study, we conducted an in-depth investigation of three middle and high school teachers who have transition from teachers of science to teachers of engineering. We were interested in the participants’ interpretations and understandings of the Nature of Engineering (NOE), how it relates to their views of the Nature of Science (NOS), and how they view the pedagogical relationship of the two disciplines. Findings suggest that teachers perception of the Nature of Science broadened from what they describe as “pure” science, which they explain as the very linear, fixed, rule based science that is typically seen in school, to include an emphasis on “application” type science. Within the teachers’ description of application science, science knowledge is portrayed as a tool, where the goal of learning is not to discover a science concept but to understand it at a level that enables them to use and apply it. This shift corresponds to viewing science education as not only a content driven subject where the goal is to come to a conclusion or answer but a subject that develops deep understanding of the processes and develops the skills that scientists and engineers use, such as perseverance, critical thinking and creativity. Paralleling these shifts is a change to a more open-ended, student centered, project based pedagogical philosophy that engages students by promoting ownership, allowing for mistakes, and encouraging creativity. Overall, the results of this study illustrate how the transition to teaching engineering alters science teachers’ perceptions by providing an entry point for understanding the nature and the purpose of science education in new ways as well as shifting to a more project-based, student centered teaching philosophy.

Vezino, B. (2017, June), Exploring how Science Teachers' Views of the Nature and Pedagogy of Science are Affected by their Transition to Engineering (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28329

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