Title: Effects of constructivist oriented instruction on elementary school students’ cognitive structures
Journal: Journal of Biological Education
Short Title: Effects of constructivist oriented instruction on elementary school students’ cognitive structures
Abstract: The laboratory has been given a central and distinctive role in science education, and science educators have suggested that rich benefits in learning accrue from using laboratory activities. Twenty years have been elapsed since we published a frequently cited, critical review of the research on the school science laboratory (Hofstein & Lunetta, Rev. Educ. Res. 52(2), 201-217, 1982). Twenty years later, we are living in an era of dramatic new technology resources and new standards in science education in which learning by inquiry has been given renewed central status. Methodologies for research and assessment that have developed in the last 20 years can help researchers seeking to understand how science laboratory resources are used, how students' work in the laboratory is assessed, and how science laboratory activities can be used by teachers to enhance intended learning outcomes. In that context, we take another look at the school laboratory in the light of contemporary practices and scholarship. This analysis examines scholarship that has emerged in the past 20 years in the context of earlier scholarship, contemporary goals for science learning, current models of how students construct knowledge, and information about how teachers and students engage in science laboratory activities
Title: Windows into practice: Constructing effective science teaching and learning in a school change initiative
Journal: International Journal of Science Education
Short Title: Windows into practice: Constructing effective science teaching and learning in a school change initiative
Abstract: This paper outlines the development of a framework--the Science in Schools (SiS) Components--that describes effective science teaching and learning and that has become a central focus for the Science in Schools Research project that is being implemented in 225 Australian schools. The description is in a form that provides a basis for monitoring change, and which can be validated against project outcomes. The SiS Components were partially based on interviews with a small number of primary and secondary teachers identified as effective practitioners, and have been subject to a variety of validation processes. The focus of this paper is on a particular form of validation involving interviews with an expanded set of effective primary teachers, from three Australian states. Case descriptions of core elements of these teachers' beliefs and practice were constructed, and a review and mapping process used to examine the extent to which the SiS Components, as a distinct 'window into practice', align with and capture these core elements, and differentiate the practice of these effective teachers from other primary teachers in the project.
Abstract: The growth in science understanding and reasoning of 12 children is being traced through their primary school years. The paper reports findings concerning children’s growing understandings of evaporation, and their changing responses to exploration activities, that show the complexity and coherence of learning pathways. Children’s responses to identical explorations of flight, separated by two years, are used to explore the interactions between conceptual knowledge and scientific reasoning, and the manner in which they change over this time. The paper discusses the particular insights afforded by a longitudinal study design, and some attendant methodological issues.
Reference Type: Journal Article
Record Number: 122
Author: Watt, Dorothy
Title: Assisting Performance: a case study from a primary science classroom
Abstract: The interactions of a primary school teacher with her class during two sessions of science are analysed to . nd the extent to which the teacher can be considered to be assisting the performance of her class. The qualitative analysis is in terms of both Tharp and Gallimore’s six assisting behaviours and Coulthard’s ‘initiation–response–feedback’ pattern for typical classroom discourse. The teaching shows features which suggest children’s science concepts are being developed and features which are consistent with assisted performance, though it is not possible to show a causal relationship between these two aspects. It is suggested that there would be potential for exploring assisted performance further as a framework for teaching for conceptual development in primary science.
Reference Type: Journal Article
Record Number: 125
Author: Wu, Ying-Tien; Tsai, Chin-Chung
Title: Development of elementary school students' cognitive structures and information processing strategies under long-term constructivist-oriented science instruction
Journal: Science Education
Short Title: Development of elementary school students' cognitive structures and information processing strategies under long-term constructivist-oriented science instruction
Abstract: The main purpose of this study was to explore the effects of long-term constructivist-oriented science instruction on elementary school students' process of constructing cognitive structures. Furthermore, such effects on different science achievers were also investigated. The subjects of this study were 69 fifth graders in Taiwan, while they were assigned to either a constructivist-oriented instruction group or a traditional teaching group. The research treatment was conducted for 5 months, including six instructional units, and students' cognitive structures were probed through interviews coupled with a metalistening technique'' after the instruction of each unit. The interview narratives were transcribed into the format of flow maps. In addition, the information processing modes shown in the flow maps were also investigated through a series of content analyses. The findings showed that the students in the constructivist-oriented instruction group attained significantly better learning outcomes in terms of the extent and integration of their cognitive structures, metacognition engagement, and the usage of information processing strategies. Moreover, it was also revealed that both high achievers and low achievers benefited from the constructivist-oriented instructional activities, but in different ways. For example, both high achievers and low achievers in the constructivist-oriented instruction group attained better usage of information processing strategies than their counterparts in traditional teaching group did; but only high achievers displayed better usage of higher order information processing modes (i.e., inferring or explaining) than their counterparts in traditional teaching group did. The results in this study finally suggest a four-stage model for students' process of constructing cognitive structure under the constructivist-oriented science instruction, including cognitive structure acquisition, metacognition enrichment, cognitive structure integration, and cognitive structure refinement.
Reference Type: Journal Article
Record Number: 153
Author: Young, Tricia
Title: Student Teachers' Attitudes Towards Science (STATS).
Abstract: This article reports the findings of a study designed to examine and quantify the attitudes towards science amongst primary student teachers. It is assumed that the attitude of a teacher to a subject is a major influence on his/her learning and subsequent teaching of that subject. Attitude is found to be closely linked to choice of subject for study. Student primary teachers whose main subject is science have a markedly more positive attitude towards science than those of any other subject group. Mathematics students are relatively confident about the study of science. ‘English’ students, which in this study include a high proportion of mature females, contrast most with science students. Technology students have a surprisingly relatively low attitude towards science. There are some distinctions in ‘perception of the teacher’ depending on gender and age. Reservations are noted about the use and interpretation of attitude measuring instruments. Comment is made on the need to address attitude directly during teacher training programmes.
Reference Type: Journal Article
Record Number: 128
Author: ZEE, Emily H. VAN; ROBERTS, Deborah
Title: Using pedagogical inquiries as a basis for learning to teach : Prospective teachers' reflections upon positive science learning experiences
Short Title: Using pedagogical inquiries as a basis for learning to teach : Prospective teachers' reflections upon positive science learning experiences
Keywords: elementary, effects of inquiry, teachers' beliefs, drawings, interviews
Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to document and interpret ways in which the first author engaged prospective teachers in pedagogical inquiries and then assisted them in using their findings as a basis for learning to teach in her courses on methods of teaching science in elementary schools. The focus here is upon inquiries about factors that foster science learning. A second purpose was to trace some of the effects of such a pedagogical approach in the development of expertise in teaching, researching, and mentoring. A third purpose was to contribute to the development of interpretative methodology, an example of a collaborative inquiry. Data included drawings made by prospective teachers on the first day of class in which they depicted memories of positive experiences in learning science. They also wrote captions for their drawings, identified factors that fostered their learning in these instances, and constructed a joint list of factors across these individual experiences. Throughout the semester, the prospective teachers also wrote journals describing science learning they observed and analyzing factors that fostered learning in those instances. Then they analyzed their own journals for common themes in order to develop personal frameworks for science teaching and learning. Data also included audio-taped interviews and written reflections by a graduate of the course about ways the course has influenced her evolving teaching and mentoring practices. The results suggest that these prospective elementary school teachers had entered a course on methods of teaching science with prior knowledge about science learning and teaching that could serve as a basis for learning to use approaches to science instruction advocated in the national standards. The reflective methods utilized in the course enabled at least one of these prospective teachers to articulate her philosophy of teaching in ways that helped her instantiate such practices as a beginning teacher.