Textbook tasks in the Norwegian school subject natural sciences: what views of science do they mediate?
This study aims to investigate textbook tasks in the Norwegian school subject Natural sciences and the views of science that the tasks mediate to the pupils. Natural science is an interdisciplinary subject taught in Years 1–11 that includes chemistry, physics, biology and parts of the geosciences. We conducted a qualitative content analysis of 2,927 tasks from three Year-11 textbooks. The results showed that most of the tasks in all three textbooks were closed and asked the pupils to reproduce facts from the textbook or other information sources. However, findings also indicated that there are differences between and within the different chapters of the textbooks. In the topics that include socio-scientific issues, the tasks are more open for the pupils to both explore and evaluate evidence. Furthermore, all the three books have an introductory chapter focusing on scientific methodology, and the tasks in this chapter are much more diverse than in the remaining chapters. It therefore seems that the aim of the textbooks is to shed light on the nature of science, but the tasks embedded in the textbooks do not support scientific inquiry and perpetuate the traditional approach of asking learners to provide already determined answers to scientific issues.
Jegstad, Kirsti Marie