Teachers' pictorial representations of the scientist
Research concerning the conceptions of non-experts (mainly students and teachers) about the nature of science has focused over the last decades on their images of scientists. Specifically, studies concentrating on teachers' relevant conceptions are particularly critical, since their images of scientists affect their teaching practices, forming a 'hidden curriculum'. Thus, the teachers who adopt stereotypical images of scientists and their activity are likely to induce negative attitudes towards science and scientists to students, which in turn affect the students' future personal, professional and social aspirations. The study presented in this chapter aims at determining a) the extent to which Greek teachers adopt a stereotypical model of the scientist and b) the types of activities they consider to be scientific. The sample consisted of 240 teachers, either pre-service, or in-service (primary, secondary, tertiary, and vocational education teachers). The method used draws on the 'DAST' ('Draw-A-Scientist-Test') technique ('DAST', Chambers, 1983; She, 1998). The participants were originally asked to individually draw a male or female scientist in their workplace and subsequently to produce a second drawing representing a scientist of the opposite sex. The analysis of the collected data indicates that the teachers hold stereotypic images of scientists. Moreover, a variety of activities (relevant to science, as well as to medicine, teaching, informatics, or law) are considered by them as scientific. Furthermore, interesting differentiations appear in the stereotypic model of the scientist according to teachers' sex, represented scientist's sex, type of scientific activity, and teachers' professional status (pre-service or in-service, and level of education they are employed in). The discussion of the results allows for valuable conclusions and implications for teacher education aiming at inspiring a more appropriate, meaningful and egalitarian image of science and scientists as well as improving teachers' attitudes towards them. © 2009 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.