Non-formal and Informal Science Learning: Teachers' Conceptions


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Despite the importance attributed to teachers' conceptions about educational issues, research on teachers' conceptions about non-formal and informal science learning is particularly limited. The present paper aims to study primary and secondary education science teachers' conceptions about non-formal and informal science learning. The research tool for collecting the relevant data was a written questionnaire, which was completed by 371 teachers (247 of primary and 124 of secondary education) in Greece. The research data was teachers' answers to the questions. The frequencies and percentage frequencies of teachers' answers were assessed. The data analysis showed that most of the teachers, in the framework of their educational work, actually make few or no visits at all to science museums, biotopes, laboratories, or factories; they make limited or no use of teaching material produced by museums and rarely or never invite specialists to school, yet they quite often use television shows, films, teaching material from the internet, articles from printed mass media, and literature texts. The forms of non-formal and informal science learning are considered by most teachers as extremely important for students' education and these forms may contribute mainly to providing knowledge and, secondarily, to developing skills and adopting attitudes. The teachers consider the relationship among formal, non-formal and informal science learning as complementary. Moreover, most teachers think that the criteria for choosing the forms of non-formal and informal learning are students' interest, the association with the lessons that will be taught, and the active involvement of students in the educational process. Also, the ways, that most of the teachers exploit non-formal and informal learning, are to attract students' interest and support the lesson they are going to teach. The results of this paper may contribute to the development of programs aiming to training and further educating teachers as well as to the production of teaching material related to the forms of non-formal and informal science learning.