Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Michael P. Clough

Second Advisor

Joanne K. Olson


This exploratory study investigated the extent and manner that former ISU-STEP students implemented the nature of science (NOS), and potential factors associated with their varying levels of NOS implementation. Thirteen teachers from the ISU-STEP participated in this study. All of the participants completed the nature of science in science education course at ISU, and were in at least in their second year of professional practice. A naturalistic inquiry approach was employed in this study and data sources included teaching observations, classroom artifacts, questionnaires, and interviews.

Evidence from this study indicates factors associated with teachers' NOS implementation levels include their implementation of reform-based practices, self reflection abilities, considerations of how people learn, understanding of NOS teaching, perceived utility value for NOS teaching, level of responsibility to implement reform-based and NOS teaching practices, and coping strategies in response to teaching constraints. Furthermore, teachers who implemented the NOS at moderate or high levels interacted with one another forming a kind of informal support network which resulted in a higher level of responsibility to accurately and effectively teach the NOS.

Recommendations for pre and inservice science teacher professional development include: (1) ensuring sufficient opportunities to understand and reflect upon the NOS and effective NOS teaching through focused coursework and practical experiences; (2) facilitating the internalization of the importance and utility value of NOS instruction; (3) explicitly addressing how to effectively cope with teaching constrains; and (4) facilitating the development of support networks and co-generated responsibility to teach the NOS.


Copyright Owner

Benjamin C. Herman



Date Available


File Format


File Size

342 pages