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Att samtala om/i naturvetenskap: kommunikation, kontext och artefakt
Linköping University, Department of Educational Science (IUV). Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Most studies focusing on students' knowledge in science show that the students have difficulties in conceptualising scientific phenomena in accordance with scientifically accepted models. The purpose of this work is to scrutinise from a sociocultural perspective some of the findings in this area. The background is an interest in communication and learning and the way students meet and use concepts from science in dialogues and in paper-and-pencil tests. The cognitive tradition has for a long time consistently maintained that by using questions in interviews and paper-and-pencil-tests you can map a person's understanding of a scientific phenomenon. Those claims are discussed in this work. What does it mean when a student gives an incorrect answer to a question in a paper and- pencil test or an interview? Does it prove that the student has insufficient science knowledge, or does it mean that the student has difficulties to define and interpret the situation and the question?

The four empirical studies reported in this work illustrate how pupils appropriate new conceptual frameworks and modes of reasoning, and how they are able to participate in concrete discourses. Focus is on understanding and learning science. The subject area in the studies deals with gravity, force and motion, light, materia and pressure in gases. Data have been generated through interviews. The outcome of the studies is radically different from those generally reported in literature. Many students gave acceptable answers to the questions when encountering them in interview settings (as opposed to paper-and-pencil-tests). Furthermore many students gave correct answers without using any scientific concepts at all. In other words a correct answer to such test questions does not necessarily imply scientific knowledge. It is argued that children's responses to questions should be treated as situated in communicative practices rather than as indicative of underlying conceptual constructions. Learning in a sociocultural perspective is mostly a question of becoming confident with different discourses. All concepts belong to discursive practices and the definitions of words, expressions and terms are relevant only in this specific discourse. According to the results of this work, there is no neutral ground on which children's understanding of concepts can be studied.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2000. , 88 p.
Linköping Studies in Education and Psychology, ISSN 1102-7517 ; 67
Keyword [en]
Learning, science, contextual effects on understanding, scientific concepts, communicative practices, thematic patterns
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-38822ISRN: LiU-IPP-STU--67--SELocal ID: 45777ISBN: 91-7219-653-XOAI: diva2:259671
Public defence
2000-02-11, Eklundska Salen, I-Huset , Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)

Papers, included in the Ph.D. thesis, are not registered and included in the posts from 1999 and backwards.

Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-11-07

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Schoultz, Jan
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Department of Educational Science (IUV)Faculty of Educational Sciences
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