First-Year Pre-service Primary School Teachers’ Conceptual Structure of Ecosystem Ecology Concepts

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12973/arise/612985

Keywords:

ecology, misconceptions, food chain, concepts, pre-service primary school teachers

Abstract

Science education research has been increasingly concerned with students’ and teachers’ conceptions of central scientific concepts over the past decades. However, science teaching today should not only convey knowledge but also values and science practices in order to empower students to become responsible citizens in a world that is facing ecological as well as social problems. Thus, a profound understanding of ecology and systems thinking skills are seen as paramount. This paper explores first-year pre-service primary school teachers’ conceptual understanding of ecology through the use of a word association test. Students were given four stimulus words and asked to provide five response words to each stimulus. Furthermore, they were asked to formulate a sentence related to biology, using each stimulus word. Response words were categorised and the frequency of the words was calculated. The findings show very limited understanding of the ecological concepts and their interrelatedness. Furthermore, the students showed numerous misconceptions regarding energy flow and food chain relationships. Thus our findings support other authors’ propositions that students often struggle with understanding ecology concepts. The findings further imply that the instruction students receive at school is not successful in replacing existing misconceptions with accurate science concepts.

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Published

2021-10-01

How to Cite

Glettler, C., & Torkar, G. (2021). First-Year Pre-service Primary School Teachers’ Conceptual Structure of Ecosystem Ecology Concepts. Action Research and Innovation in Science Education, 4(1), 25–31. https://doi.org/10.12973/arise/612985