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Analysis of pre-service science teachers’ systems thinking skills in the context of carbon cycle

Turan, Deniz
The main purpose of this study is to analyze pre-service science teachers’ systems thinking skills in the context of carbon cycle. The eight systems thinking skills that is previously defined by Ben-Zvi Assaraf and Orion (2005) were used to investigate the participants’ systems thinking skills concerning the carbon cycle. Data was collected from four senior-year pre-service science teachers from elementary science education department of a state university. The data obtained through word association test, concept map, drawings alongside with the interview questions. It was expected from participants to view carbon cycle in a systematic way with its integrated parts identified as terrestrial system, hydrosphere and the atmosphere in this research. This study was designed as multiple case study that the data gathered from each participant with different backgrounds analyzed separately. Interviews were analyzed via a rubric specifically developed for examining systems thinking skills in the context of the carbon cycle. This study aims to provide an insight view of systems thinking skills of pre-service science teachers’ in the context of carbon cycle and inspire science teacher educators and science teachers an idea concerning the systems thinking education. Results demonstrated that participants systems thinking skills were appeared as non-hierarchical and generally low especially in identifying dynamic and cyclic relationships as well as identifying hidden dimensions in the carbon cycle system. In addition, participants mainly focused on the terrestrial part and ignored the hydrosphere and the atmosphere parts of the carbon cycle. In general, systems thinking should be emphasized more in the teacher education programs.