• Author / Creator
    Heinsen, Leslie D
  • Scientific literacy is an important goal of science education but one that has been difficult to define. The definition of scientific literacy has changed over its 60-year history in response to changing societal needs. These definitions have ranged from basic levels of scientific understanding to that of a seasoned scientist. In the field of education the definition has remained broad, capturing conceptual, skill based, and attitudinal dimensions. Despite being the goal of science education, limited research has been conducted into science teachers’ understandings of scientific literacy. The purpose of this research was to identify high school science teachers’ understandings of scientific literacy and identify perceived barriers to implementation. High school science teachers participated in a semi-structured interview to identify their views/definitions of scientific literacy and identify any barriers they face in developing scientific literacy in their classroom. The teachers’ understandings fell into three major categories: knowledge, skills and processes, and attitudes. Most teachers emphasized one category but all included all three understandings in their definitions. Teachers identified a number of ways they work to build scientific literacy and some of the challenges they faced. Barriers to successful development of scientific literacy included curricular challenges; challenges related to the student, such as motivation; and challenges related to the teacher, such as time. While teachers had varied understandings of scientific literacy, the overall understanding was similar. Further, all saw it as an important goal of science education and something they worked to develop in their students.

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  • Degree
    Master of Education
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.