SCIENCE TEACHER AND SOCIETY
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant Professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Science teachers in a society impart knowledge on day-to-day facts and reason out things which are observed and provide the students the power to question and interpret their knowledge and suggestions.
Science helps the student to acknowledge the facts based on experiments, observations and inferences, which is a judgment based on evidence. Science teacher keeps the pupils away from guesses and superstitions thus allowing the students to realize that misconceptions about some of the concepts are wrong and unreal;
Science teachers by making the students work with materials found in their environment and solving problems stimulate the curiosity of the students and ensure that the students do not get satisfied with vague explanations of things.
Science teachers can inculcate scientific attitudes, temper and habits in the students. Inculcation of scientific attitudes into the students encourages them to view facts objectively and free themselves from superstitions, thus developing an ability to think, imagine and be creative.
Science teachers instill knowledge on good habits of cleanliness, personal hygiene, and social hygiene. Science teachers are therefore a source of motivation for students to think independently. Science teachers thus enable students to discover new ideas and apply them to the world we live.
Science teachers thus can be considered as a great boon to the society that we live in.
ROLE OF SCIENCE TEACHER IN ERADICATING MISCONCEPTIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS IN SOCIETY
Science teachers play a central role in educating, inspiring, and guiding students to become responsible, scientifically literate citizens. Science gives people a logical way of thinking. To understand science, education is important. Science provides evidence to support its claims through research and experiments. Science has removed a lot of superstition and it continues to do so.
Superstition is referred to as any belief which is unexplained, which is in contradiction to modern science and that cannot be proved. They are merely assumptions based on personal opinion, which may become popular. These beliefs arise out of fear and sometimes from helplessness. These beliefs have existed since the earliest days of mankind. Many of them have no scientific basis and are not linked to any particular religious faith. There are various superstitions followed by people especially in our country, certain superstitions such as fortune telling, solar and lunar eclipses, witches, considering widows as in auspicious, and so on.
Other examples are the spirit of the dead person visiting the house seven days following the death, seeing dead people in dreams is regarded as an omen for the living. If a crow comes near a house and caws, that house will receive news from abroad, dog barking late at night are considered signs of bad things to come.
Science teachers provide students the necessary information and explanation which science teaches about these beliefs and superstitions. Science teachers motivate students to understand, analyse and think scientifically against such beliefs. Science teachers should gives explanations for most of the belief which is obtained from scientific studies and helps students to acquire knowledge against superstitious practices and beliefs. Thus Science is a tool for fighting superstitions, and it helps to fosters logical thinking and instilling scientific outlook in life.
Misconception about science
Science is also riddled with misconceptions in the way it is perceived and how it works. Some of the most common misconceptions are science is complete, there is a single scientific method that all scientists follow, scientific ideas are absolute and unchanging, science can only disprove ideas, job of a scientist is to find support for his or her hypotheses, science and technology can solve all the problems, science contradicts the existence of God, science is done by “old white men” etc.
Misconceptions can be described as ideas that provide an incorrect understanding of ideas, objects or events that are not in agreement with our current understanding. They occur in students, understanding of scientific methods as well as in their organization of scientific knowledge. According to national research council, students in grades 5 to 8 showed evidence of misconceptions at a surprisingly high rate of frequency. Even some of the best students give the right answers, but are only using memorized words or sentences. When questioned more closely, these students reveal their failure to understand fully, the underlying concepts. They are often able to use algorithms to solve numerical problems without completely understanding the underlying scientific concept. Reports have found that students in physics classes had memorized equations and problem solving skills, but performed poorly on tests of conceptual understanding. Besides offering students information and helpful examples, we must show them reasoning processes that leads to algorithmic problems with a conceptual question on the same topic.
How to help a child to overcome Misconceptions?
The process of replacing a misconception with the scientifically accepted concept is called conceptual change. Certain strategies for helping students overcome misconceptions are: using methods that de-emphasize cook book-like activities in favour of open-ended, inquiry-oriented investigations can engage students in discussions of scientific ideas in cooperative group work. Individuals who are asked to predict the results of their experiments are more willing to change their thinking than those who function as passive observers. Creating opportunities for students to confront their own beliefs should enable them to resolve any conflicts between their ideas and what they experience in a laboratory activity and discussions. Teachers also need to ensure that connections are made in a relevantly between the concepts learned in the classroom and students’ everyday life, asking students to describe or represent their own concepts, discussing and evaluating concepts.