Promotion of scientific literacy in Bangladesh: teachers' perspectives, practices and challenges

2017-02-17T01:46:23Z (GMT) by Sarkar, Md. Mahbub Alam
In line with a current global trend, junior secondary science education in Bangladesh aims to provide science education for all students to enable them to use their science learning in everyday life. This aim is consistent with the call for scientific literacy, which argues for engaging students with science in everyday life. The study for this thesis explores how scientific literacy is promoted through junior secondary science education in Bangladesh. It looks at four areas: teachers’ perspectives of scientific literacy; the translation of their perspectives into teaching practices; the values they consider in science teaching in relation to scientific literacy, and the issues they perceive as challenging in their teaching for promoting scientific literacy. To explore these four areas, this research followed a mixed methods design where qualitative approaches, including interviews with teachers, lesson observations and focus group interviews with students, dominated the overall research process. This study reveals that whilst participating teachers held a range of perspectives of scientific literacy, including some naive perspectives, in practice they demonstrated limited capacity to translate their perspectives into their classroom teaching practices. Many of their teaching practices promoted a culture of academic science that resulted in students’ difficulty in finding connections between the science they study in school and their everyday lives. This study also reveals that teachers found difficulties in conceptualising many of the curriculum-identified values and consequently, found it difficult to find, develop and implement suitable teaching approaches to promote the values. The difficulties also included teachers encountering tension between their religious values and science values while they were teaching science in a culture with a religious tradition. These results may contribute to understanding how teaching for scientific literacy is challenged by an academically oriented curriculum, large class size, limited resources, traditional examination-oriented education and limited teacher development programmes.