Zeynep KOYUNLU UNLU1 Ilbilge DOKME2
1Bozok University, TURKEY.
2Gazi University, TURKEY.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to determine the effect of gender and class level on science teacher candidates’ epistemological beliefs and critical thinking disposition, as well as examine the relationship between these two dependent variables. Research Methods: This study was designed as a descriptive survey. Participants were 447 students majoring in science education. The data for the epistemological beliefs was collected with the Scale of Epistemological Beliefs (SEB); data for critical thinking disposition was collected with the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI). The data was evaluated in SPSS with a Mann Whitney U, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, and two variable correlation. Findings The study found that female students had more developed epistemological beliefs than their male counterparts. Students’ SEB and CCTDI scores also exhibit a moderate positive correlation. The students’ epistemological beliefs and critical thinking dispositions did not vary regularly by class level. Implications for Research and Practice: Applications developing male students’ epistemological beliefs and critical thinking skills can be done so as to reduce the negative effects of gender on the learning-teaching process. Additionally, activities should be included in applied courses (such as lab and student presentations) in the science teaching program to develop such skills in students.
Keywords: Science education, teacher education, epistemological beliefs, critical thinking disposition.