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Pre-service teachers' subject knowledge of and attitudes about radioactivity and ionising radiation

[journal article]

Colclough, Nicholas Denys; Lock, Roger; Soares, Allan

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-245526

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Abstract This study focussed on secondary school (11-18 years) pre-service teachers’ (n=73) knowledge of and attitudes towards risks associated with alpha, beta and gamma radiations. A multi-method approach was used with physics, chemistry, biology and history graduates undertaking the one year initial teacher training, Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course at a university in central England. A novel research tool, involving interviews about real concrete contexts and first hand data collection with radioactive sources, was employed to gain insights into a sub-set of the sample (n=12) of pre-service teachers’ subject knowledge of and attitudes towards risk. The subject knowledge of all the pre-service teachers was also measured using a Certainty of Response Instrument (CRI); multiple choice questions with associated confidence indicators. Although the physicists displayed the higher levels of knowledge, they also demonstrated limitations in their knowledge and held misconceptions such as irradiation being confused with contamination. Physics graduates hold more rational attitudes and a greater willingness to accept risk while the attitudes of graduates in the other subject disciplines are more disparate. These findings raise questions about the extent to which pre-service science and history teachers have the knowledge necessary to teach this topic. The article concludes with discussion of the implications these findings have for initial teacher training, continuing professional development (CPD) needs for teachers already in the profession and curriculum developers.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics
Free Keywords attitudes; physics education; pre-service; qualitative research; secondary school
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 423-446
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 33 (2010) 3
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500691003639905
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)
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