Framework for Review of Video Episodes

In DVDs 2 to 4, we report the work undertaken with a group of teachers who taught aspects of Ideas about Science (IabS) in their lessons. Selected episodes of their lessons / work are organized into 7 themes as follows:

Theme DVD No.
1. Introducing students to IabS DVD 2
2. Probing students’ understanding of IabS prior to the lesson DVD 2
3. Developing students’ understanding of IabS DVD 3
4. Consolidating students’ understanding of IabS DVD 3
5. Assessing students’ understanding of IabS DVD 3
6. Critical incidents in teaching IabS DVD 4
7. Teaching IabS beyond the knowledge domain DVD 4

Themes 1 - 5 focus on teaching-learning strategies that can help students to learn IabS while the other two themes aim at assisting teachers to re-visit some fundamentals of teaching IabS. Theme 6 focuses on some unexpected students’ responses that require teachers’ anticipation of the learning process, while theme 7 enables teachers to reflect more deeply upon the objectives of teaching IabS.

To facilitate your reflection, you may find the framework, Five Dimensions of Effective Practices in Teaching IabS, useful in guiding your review of the cases. Figure 1 shows an annotated representation of the framework. It is hoped that through a systematic reflection guided by the framework, you will be able to identify important aspects of pedagogy for teaching IabS.

Figure 1. The Five Dimensions of Effective Practices in Teaching IabS

1. Teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the nature of science

Teacher is anxious about their understanding


Confident that they have a sufficient understanding of NOS

2. Teachers’ conceptions of their own role

Dispenser of knowledge


Facilitator of learning

3. Teachers’ use of discourse

Closed and authoritative


Open and dialogic

4. Teachers’ conception of learning goals

Limited to knowledge gains


Includes the development of reasoning skills

5. The nature of classroom activities

Student activities are contrived and inauthentic


Activities are own by students and are authentic

Bartholomew, H., Osborne, J., & Ratcliffe, M. (2004). Teaching students “ideas-about-science”:
Five dimensions of effective practice. Science Education, 88, 655-682.

It has to be pointed out that the five dimensions are not mutually independent. For example, a teacher who sees her role as a facilitator of students’ learning is more likely to see value in open and dialogic discussion. However, this does not imply that teachers who are on the left hand side for one dimension will necessarily be on the left hand side for all other dimensions. Similarly, it is not intended that we will be able to place each teacher at a particular position along the sliding scale of each dimension and that they will stay there. Instead, these dimensions are meant to be a useful tool for distinguishing teachers, and for thinking about salient features of the lessons that we are going to review. Below, we elaborate a bit on each of the dimensions.

Teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the nature of science refers to their own understanding of the relevant conceptions. Their delivery and explanations of these ideas can be an important indicator. Nevertheless, it tells only one part of the story about teachers’ confidence in teaching these ideas. Nor, would it necessarily be a predictor of the approach that they take in their teaching. For instance, the Teachers’ conception and understanding of the learning goals can be more significant in this aspect.

In examining Teachers’ conception of their own role, we can focus on whether the teacher can be a resource in helping students to generate answers to questions, that is, be a facilitator of learning. Moreover, the students need to be encouraged to be reflective about the topic of the lesson.

In the dimension Teachers’ use of discourse, the lesson can be open and dialogic if there are active student participation and open questions asked by the teacher.

For Teachers’ conception of the learning goals, it can be inferred from the reasons put forward by teachers to convince students of the importance of learning IabS. Other than teaching IabS for knowledge, it is desirable to include learning goals pertaining to the skills (e.g. reasoning skills) and attitudes domains (e.g. positive values of science).

For The nature of classroom activities, the activities can be authentic and owned by students if they can make students actively engaged. Usually, these activities have to involve student collaboration and are intellectually demanding.

To recap, the five dimensions are not mutually independent. They can be considered at the same time when you review the cases.

For further elaboration on making use of this framework to review the cases, go to the end of ‘Framework for Review of Video Episodes’ in DVD 2 to watch the video.