Perception of Scientific Literacy and Elementary Teacher Preparation Held by Science Professors and Science Education Professors
The study examined the perceptions of scientific literacy and elementary teacher preparation held by science professors and science education professors. Participants were 31 professors, including 16 life and physical science professors and 15 elementary science education professors, from nine state universities in a southeastern state. Data were collected through telephone interviews and course documents. Professors, as a group, tended to define scientific literacy and its components in a comprehensive manner, which was generally consistent with the National Science Education Standards and Project 2061. However, science professors emphasized science knowledge more strongly than other components of scientific literacy; whereas, science education professors emphasized science inquiry. Although both groups indicated that elementary school teachers were generally unprepared to teach science, science professors often attributed teachers’ lack of preparation to teachers themselves; whereas, science education professors often attributed it to universities. Implications for promoting scientific literacy in elementary schools are discussed.