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Conceptual understanding of genetics among student teachers

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dc.contributor.advisor Magi, N.V.
dc.contributor.author Dlamini, Eunice Tressa
dc.date.accessioned 2010-09-14T08:40:36Z
dc.date.available 2010-09-14T08:40:36Z
dc.date.issued 1999
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10530/445
dc.description A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Education in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in the Department of Comparative & Science Education at the University of Zululand, 1999. en_US
dc.description.abstract This study sought to determine the level of competency in the knowledge, understanding and problem-solving skills in genetics by student teachers. The study also explored the student teachers' awareness of the application of genetics technology in their communities. The method adopted for the study was an integration of both quantitative and qualitative approaches in a way that the two approaches complemented each other. As a result of this approach, in some cases actual statements from the student teachers were used and exhibits of models they made were included to give a more concrete presentation of the student's levels of achievement in the areas of genetics tested. The student teachers of the classes of 1995, 1996 and 1997, were used as guinea pigs in the validation and reliability testing of the instruments. A class of 1998 consisting of twenty five students were used for the actual experiment. Through the three years when the instruments were being refined, they were kept securely so that subsequent groups never got access to the instrument, except during the test period. After test sessions, the instruments were locked away. The test instruments included a written theoretical test, a practical test, and questions on the sexual harassment of girls by male teachers. There was also a non-scheduled interview with six subjects who were rich sources of misconceptions. The findings of the study suggest that the overall performance of subjects in tasks that tested higher order learning in genetics was poor. The subjects did better in probes that tested lower order cognitive levels such as recall. The subjects showed difficulty particularly in understanding the process of meiosis but were quite comfortable with questions on mitosis. There was a significant positive correlation between the subjects' knowledge and understanding of meiosis and ability to find solutions to genetic problems. The understanding of genetics was found to be critical in the successful solution of genetics problems. The subjects displayed a very high proficiency level in the knowledge of heuristics for solving genetic problems. However, their procedural knowledge did not translate into abilities to solve genetics problems. There was a very low positive correlation between knowing heuristics and ability to solve genetics problems. No significant positive correlation between knowing genetics heuristics and the subjects' abilities to solve genetics problems was found. The study found no significant, difference between male and female subjects' achievement scores with respect to the selected concepts tested in the theory and practical tests. The theory, practical test and the questions on sexual harassment revealed that subjects had misconceptions with reference to understanding certain concepts in genetics. During practical work, student teachers showed a lack of interpretive and analytical skills. This was evident in that some models which were supposed to show a pair of homologous chromosomes showed more than one pair. The instructions in the practical directed subjects to use alleles A and a, but some subjects used A, B and Rr. This lack of ability to interpret simple instructions tended to point to poor language facility. While the majority of subjects rejected outrightly, the sexual harassment of school girls, other subjects thought some girls court rape by the way they dress. The subjects in the research viewed rape as: ♦ a violation of human rights of another person; ♦ as a traumatic experience for the victim; ♦ as an act that has a life-time stigma attached to it for the victim. During the writing of a plan for solving genetic problems (heuristics) the cooperative pairs that discussed their plans in English, finally gave a more coherent and logical presentation than those pairs who first discussed in Zulu followed by a translation. Most of the subjects who translated their responses tended to give direct translations which did not always convey accurately what they meant. The subjects were found to be aware of genetic fingerprinting technology and its use in convicting rapists. This study showed that subjects had been exposed to biosocial issues related to technology in genetics. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship University of Zululand en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Genetics--student teachers en_US
dc.subject Genetics technology en_US
dc.title Conceptual understanding of genetics among student teachers en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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