A science teacher’s complex beliefs about nature of scientific inquiry

  • Birgitte Bjønness Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Erik Knain University of Oslo, Norway
Keywords: teacher beliefs about NOS, scientific inquiry, upper secondary school, interviews


One major concern relating to teaching scientific inquiry is that many teachers show epistemologically naive beliefs about nature of science (NOS). In this study, we use in-depth interviews to identify an upper secondary science teacher’s beliefs about NOS and scientific inquiry in school. We found that what seemed to be a teacher’s positivist position was embedded in broader concerns regarding pedagogical considerations and personal engagement relating to the students. This broader ecology of a teacher’s beliefs enabled us to understand why positivist epistemology and related myths concerning NOS are seemingly robust in school versions of scientific inquiry. We suggest that implications for science teacher education and professional development are that teacher (students) need opportunities for guided reflections on personal experiences and commitments towards scientific inquiry to increase conscience with respect to how they might affect their situated practice.

Author Biographies

Birgitte Bjønness, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Associate professor
Erik Knain, University of Oslo, Norway