Doctoral Degrees in HPS&ST
Candidate’s Name: Andreas Henke,
Institution: University of Bremen, Institute of Didactics of Natural Sciences
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Höttecke and Prof. Dr. Horst Schecker
Thesis title: Lehren und Lernen über die Natur der Naturwissenschaften - Potentiale historisch orientierten Physikunterrichts
(EN: Teaching and learning about the nature of science - exploring the potentials of HPS in teaching physics)
“This thesis highlights the chances, but also the difficulties of stimulating explicit and reflexive learning about the nature of science (NOS) within the framework of an historical-investigative approach to physics teaching. Within the EU project HIPST teaching units according to this framework were developed in teacher-researcher-teams and were tested multicylically at secondary schools in Lower Saxony. In the course of several empirical investigations, first 8th grade student's conceptions of the historical development of science were investigated. Subsequently, the teachers involved in HIPST were asked about their perceived difficulties in implementing the historical-investigative teaching units. Finally, the effects of this type of teaching were explored in detail by comparing changes in pupils' conceptions about the NOS within two lesson series (also 8th grade): One following a historical-investigative approach, the other following an inquiry-learning approach. Both featured explicit and reflective learning opportunities on the same NOS ideas. Additionally, trait-treatment-interactions were explored, i.e. for both teaching approaches the effects of several motivational measures of students on their learning about the NOS were compared. Quantitatively, both treatments result in similar NOS learning outcomes. Motivational measures only influence NOS learning in the context of the inquiry based unit. Qualitatively, three conclusions can be drawn from the results:
1. Some educational properties of historical-investigative teaching of physics need to be consistent with its NOS learning goals and content: the degree of open-endedness and pre-structuredness of classroom experiments and their conceptual and methodological learning goals; the ways and aims of promoting empathy with historical scientists and of dramatizing historical information.
2. Science teachers only feel competent about teaching the NOS within historical-investigative lessons, if they have knowledge about pupils' ideas about history and about the NOS, if they know the advantages and disadvantages of different pedagogical models for coordinating historical and current science concepts, and if they are able to give meaning to historical classroom investigations by mediating between the pupil's autonomy and the open-endedness of authentic investigations on the one hand and the closed-endedness of history and of the curriculums’ conceptual learning demands on the other hand.
3. Student's perspectives - their preexisting ideas about the NOS, their abilities concerning historical thinking, their affinity for physics teaching, as well as their learned expectations towards physics teaching - determine whether and how they make sense of historical-investigative physics teaching, of the NOS learning opportunities, and of the historical information contextualizing them.”