W(h)ither the sense of wonder of pre-service primary teachers’ when teaching science?: A preliminary study of their personal experiences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This preliminary study seeks to explore whether wonder-based reflections are sources of inspiration for our future teachers of science. What experiences have brought them personally a sense of wonder and when, if at all, do they employ scientific explanations of those events? In all 140 pre-service primary teachers, when questioned, described 240 separate events or occasions in which they had participated or observed that evoked a heightened sense of wonder. Three different types of wonder described all the events cited: physical, personal and metaphysical wonder. Analysis of extended interviews with 15 of the pre-service primary teachers illustrated that such events can transform heuristic responses. The value of an emotional engagement with scientific processes needs to be recognised, acknowledged and then accommodated within our teaching practices. Teachers of science need to be made aware of a set of emotional cues that they share with their pupils-the ability to give ourselves over to wonder. Not to do this leaves open the possibility that teachers and their pupils will conclude that science is personally meaningless, and unwilling or unable to address issues of personal significance. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2008


  • Pre-service, Primary, Wonder, Science