The influence of an intensive and integrated place-based professional development program on teachers' views of the nature of science


  • Andrea Rae Milner Adrian College
  • Toni A Sondergeld Bowling Green State University
  • Charles Rop University of Toledo


nature of science, implicit instruction, explicit instruction, integrated field studies, professional development


Appropriate views of the nature of science are vital to scientific literacy yet rarely taught in US schools primarily due to naïve NOS views held by teachers. Thus, most school teachers need further educational NOS experiences and instruction. Science education literature suggests teachers can learn NOS through both implicit (learning through doing) and explicit (precise utilization) professional development opportunities. Through an integrated field studies teacher professional development program (A River Runs Through It [ARRT]) we implemented both implicit and explicit NOS instruction to see if the combination of methods would improve NOS beliefs following the program. Results obtained from pre and post VNOS-C (see Appendix A) surveys show a modest post-test increase in teachers informed NOS views in all NOS aspects (except Inferential which remained the same), supporting the notion of using both implicit and explicit instruction in teaching the nature of science. In the context of a place-based, field oriented and naturally integrated watershed, our work offers insight into the value of using both implicit experiences and explicit instruction in the teaching of the nature of science for changing participant views of NOS. However, due to the large number of naïve post-test NOS views in Empirical, Theory vs. Law, Inferential, Scientific Method, and Tentative aspects we realize extended NOS experiences and instruction are necessary if science teacher educators expect to elicit dramatic and sustained change in teacher NOS beliefs. Our study demonstrates that the combination of implicit and explicit NOS instructional methods in teacher professional development programs could be a meaningful method of impacting teachers NOS beliefs as we saw an increase in all NOS aspects from pre to post with the exception of one area which remained the same.

Author Biographies

Andrea Rae Milner, Adrian College

Andrea R. Milner is an Assistant Professor at Adrian College (AC) in the Teacher Education department. Dr. Milner is also the Director of the Institute for Education at AC. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction in August 2008 from the University of Toledo. Her research focuses on the effects constructivist classroom contextual factors have on student motivation and learning strategy use. This includes the investigations of innovative strategies, techniques, and methods to facilitate learning environments that will ignite motivation and stimulate learning strategy use in a manner that will positively transform students experience of education within the classroom and enable students to then transfer that experience to their life out in the real world. She has numerous publications and presentations.

Toni A Sondergeld, Bowling Green State University

Toni A. Sondergeld is an Assistant Professor at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policies. Dr. Sondergeld is also the Co-Director of The Center of Assessment and Evaluation Services (CAES) at BGSU. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Foundations of Education: Educational Research & Measurement in 2009 from the University of Toledo. Her research focuses on Science/STEM Education; Program/Grant Evaluation; Classroom Assessment & Data Driven Decision Making; and School Reform. She has numerous publications and presentations.


Charles Rop, University of Toledo

Charles Rop is an Associate Professor at the University of Toledo (UT) in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the UTs College of Education. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy with cognates in Science Education, Teacher Education, and Disciplinary Knowledge from Michigan State University. His research focuses on exploring ways to construct learning experiences that engage the passions and perceptions of learners in ways that transform their views of the world and their relationships to it. In his research in science education he is working to discover ways that thoughtful engagement with the natural world can enable teachers and prospective teachers to catch a vision for authentic inquiry and discovery in science. Melding qualitative and quantitative methodologies, he is looking at how these new experiences might influence their presentation of science in their classrooms. He has numerous publications and presentations




How to Cite

Milner, A. R., Sondergeld, T. A., & Rop, C. (2014). The influence of an intensive and integrated place-based professional development program on teachers’ views of the nature of science. Current Issues in Education, 17(1). Retrieved from