Individual Presentation or Panel Title

Going beyond Conceptual Change: Methodologies for Understanding Science Learning as Socially Practiced

Abstract

Most research on the learning of science is based on the cognitive psychological construct of "conceptual change." In this model, learners hold fast to existing ideas about how the natural world works, and in spite of instruction about normative science ideas, often persist in expressing "alternate conceptions." In this traditional model, the goal of instruction is to challenge learners' ideas so they can adopt the correct one. We are investigating conceptual change from a social practice theory (SPT) perspective, adapting to the classroom Jean Lave's theoretical/conceptual framework that "we are learning what we are already doing." Such a perspective understands knowledge to be socially temporally constructed through participation in cultural activities. We argue the epistemology of SPT requires different ways of collecting data and assigns different meaning to artifacts such as video transcripts and interviews with learners.

In order to analyze the learning of school science using SPT, methods commonly employed in science education research are inadequate. Methods which are suited to finding out what individuals know and can do, such as interviews and pre- and post-tests, do not shed light on how individuals develop scientific ideas within social groups. In fact, we argue that conceptual change is a superficial idea that does not capture the complexities of deeper cultural models of what it means to know science.

We have been collecting classroom videos and interviews with college students in science classes for non-majors, and as well as videotaping and interviewing middle school students. We would like to bring data to the conference and engage in conversations with other researchers who are investigating the alternative paradigms for curriculum.

Presentation Description

We will engage in conversation about how and whether a social practice theory perspective can transform the learning of science. What might our video data from a science class for prospective middle grades teachers mean? What kinds of research methods are suited to answering questions about social construction of knowledge in science classrooms.

Keywords

Science education, Social practice theories of learning, Videoethnography

Location

Magnolia Room A

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 13th, 5:00 PM Jun 13th, 6:15 PM

Going beyond Conceptual Change: Methodologies for Understanding Science Learning as Socially Practiced

Magnolia Room A

Most research on the learning of science is based on the cognitive psychological construct of "conceptual change." In this model, learners hold fast to existing ideas about how the natural world works, and in spite of instruction about normative science ideas, often persist in expressing "alternate conceptions." In this traditional model, the goal of instruction is to challenge learners' ideas so they can adopt the correct one. We are investigating conceptual change from a social practice theory (SPT) perspective, adapting to the classroom Jean Lave's theoretical/conceptual framework that "we are learning what we are already doing." Such a perspective understands knowledge to be socially temporally constructed through participation in cultural activities. We argue the epistemology of SPT requires different ways of collecting data and assigns different meaning to artifacts such as video transcripts and interviews with learners.

In order to analyze the learning of school science using SPT, methods commonly employed in science education research are inadequate. Methods which are suited to finding out what individuals know and can do, such as interviews and pre- and post-tests, do not shed light on how individuals develop scientific ideas within social groups. In fact, we argue that conceptual change is a superficial idea that does not capture the complexities of deeper cultural models of what it means to know science.

We have been collecting classroom videos and interviews with college students in science classes for non-majors, and as well as videotaping and interviewing middle school students. We would like to bring data to the conference and engage in conversations with other researchers who are investigating the alternative paradigms for curriculum.