Pre-Service Pre-School Teachers’ Perceptions of Science and Pseudo-Science (Pages: 150 - 169)
It is of great importance for pre-school teachers who are expected to provide guidance in children’s first introduction to formal science education to be knowledgeable about science and nature of science and to have the skills necessary to differentiate true science from pseudo-science. For these reasons, the study was aimed to investigate the pre-service pre-school teachers’ perceptions of science and ways of knowing in general and how they evaluate pseudo-scientific claims with the help of criteria formed in the light of these perceptions. The current study is based on qualitative methodology. The study group of the current study is comprised of 41 (34 females, 7 males) third-year pre-service pre-school teachers attending a state university in the fall term of 2013-2014 academic year. The data of the study were collected with “Science, Pseudo-Science Form” including eight open-ended questions developed by the researchers. The data collected in the study were qualitatively analyzed. The findings of the study indicate that while attempting to define the concept of science, the pre-service teachers emphasized the processes of conducting research, proving something and conducting experiments and observations. Considerable number of the pre-service pre-school teachers think that science is more than an attempt to know because it has a mission of yielding novelties that can facilitate life; therefore, it is clear that they are confusing the concept of science with the concept of technology. Also, it is seen that while questioning whether a claim is scientific or not, the pre-service teachers emphasize the criteria such as being a subject of experiments-observations, being objective-factual and being provable. When the pre-service teachers’ approaches to ways of knowing are examined, it is seen that almost all of the pre-service teachers referred to multiple-ways of knowing in the evaluation performed on the perceptions related to fields other than science, and they refuted to adopt the attitude of viewing science as the sole way of knowing.