Seeing the Wood for the Trees: Applying the dual-memory system model to investigate expert teachers’ observational skills in natural ecological learning environments
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 34, no 1, 101-125 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study aims to investigate two expert ecology teachers’ ability to attend to essential details in a complex environment during a field excursion, as well as how they teach this ability to their students. In applying a cognitive dual-memory system model for learning, we also suggest a rationale for their behaviour. The model implies two separate memory systems: the implicit, non-conscious, non-declarative system and the explicit, conscious, declarative system. This model provided the starting point for the research design. However, it was revised from the empirical findings supported by new theoretical insights. The teachers were video and audio recorded during their excursion and interviewed in a stimulated recall setting afterwards. The data were qualitatively analysed using the dual-memory system model. The results show that the teachers used holistic pattern recognition in their own identification of natural objects. However, teachers’ main strategy to teach this ability is to give the students explicit rules or specific characteristics. According to the dual-memory system model the holistic pattern recognition is processed in the implicit memory system as a non-conscious match with earlier experienced situations. We suggest that this implicit pattern matching serves as an explanation for teachers’ ecological and teaching observational skills. Another function of the implicit memory system is its ability to control automatic behaviour and non-conscious decision-making. The teachers offer the students firsthand sensory experiences which provide a prerequisite for the formation of implicit memories that provides a foundation for expertise.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2012. Vol. 34, no 1, 101-125 p.
Ecology education; Teacher actions; Classification; Pattern recognition; Dualmemory system
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67890DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2011.561505ISI: 000300301400005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-67890DiVA: diva2:414101