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Voices from the Classroom

Elementary Teachers' Experience with Argument-Based Inquiry

Edited by Brian M. Hand and Lori Norton-Meier

There is much attention currently being given to argument-based inquiry in national and state curriculum documents. Students are being required to be able to generate and evaluate science knowledge, and to think critically and judge the value of evidence and explanations. The intent of the book is to provide a rich and broad view of the impact of argument-based inquiry in the elementary classrooms from the perspective of the teacher. All the teachers and professional development authors were engaged in promoting and using argument based inquiry as the approach to teaching science. They were implementing the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) approach as the argument based approach for classroom practice.
As researchers we constantly work to present our views of these experiences with the voice of the teachers only being relayed through the perspective of the researcher. The intent of this book is to provide an opportunity for us as a community to listen to what the teachers are telling us. Importantly as demands are being placed on classroom experiences that provide opportunities for students to pose questions, make claims, and provide evidence, that is, to think critically and reason like scientists, we need to understand what this looks like from the perspective of the teacher. This book brings together a range of elementary teachers from kindergarten through to year 6 who have used the Science Writing Heuristic approach to teach argument-based inquiry. These teachers have all gone through professional development programs and successfully implemented the approach at a high level.

Engaging Environmental Education

Learning, Culture and Agency

Edited by Robert B. Stevenson and Justin Dillon

As more attention is devoted to the increasing and complex socio-ecological issues facing the planet, new insights and new ways of thinking are being sought about the learning and agency of children and adults in relation to these environmental concerns. The contributors to this book address the critically important dual challenge of making environmental education engaging while engaging individuals, institutions and communities. Rather than treating students and citizens as passive recipients of other people’s knowledge, the book highlights the importance of engaging learners as active agents in thinking about and constructing a more sustainable and equitable quality of life. The case studies emphasize socio-cultural approaches to environmental learning within and outside formal education in a diverse range of international contexts, including Canada, Denmark, Korea, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The authors not only illuminate the challenges and complexity of engaging youth and adults in meaningful learning, as well as informed action, on complex environmental issues, but also document and offer important insights into promising ways in which these challenges might be addressed. In addition to the many stimulating ideas and strategies for building the learning capacities of individuals and organizations for creating ecologically sustainable communities and societies, further important questions are raised that educators, policymakers and researchers might consider.

Ethics in the Science and Technology Classroom

A New Approach to Teaching and Learning

Edited by Alister Jones, Anne McKim and Michael J. Reiss

This edited book on ethics represents the outcomes of an international collaborative project that examined the role and place of bioethics in science and technology curricula. As science and technology advance, ethical issues increasingly are brought to the fore not only both for scientists and technologists but also for the general public. Science and technology education also reflects this shift and thinking and teaching about ethics in the school curriculum has increased. A greater emphasis is being placed on society’s general scientific and technological literacy and this includes an understanding of socio-scientific issues including ethical decision-making. Although this book has a focus on ethics in the school science and technology curriculum, we believe it will also prove useful for those thinking about ethical decision making in a range of contexts outside of the school sector. The book will prove useful for University lecturers, teachers, curriculum developers and policy makers and those that are involved in science and technology decision making more broadly.

Erik Jan van Rossum and Rebecca Hamer

The Meaning of Learning and Knowing, co-authored by Erik Jan van Rossum and Rebecca Hamer, brings together empirical studies on epistemology, student thinking, teacher thinking, educational policy and staff development forging a solid and practical foundation for educational innovation. Since the 1980s they developed and published about a six-stage developmental model describing the qualitatively different ways students and teachers view learning and good teaching. A model with far reaching consequences for education, educational innovation and democratic society. Their comprehensive review of research from many disciplines underpins the empirical evidence of over 650 students and teachers. Each of the six worldviews results in a unique way of meaning making. These six Ways of Knowing, or Orders of Consciousness, are characterised by increasing complexity of thinking, with fourth level thinking—or self-authorship—representing the most common espoused goal of higher education. Ample evidence is presented that higher education is not attaining its own espoused goals. One explanation may be that many teachers in higher education have not themselves reached the minimum required way of knowing, preventing them from constructing a developmental path for their students. Van Rossum and Hamer’s epistemological model provides clear signposts on the developmental education highway and has proven its worth as an instrument for curriculum design, measurement of epistemological development and as a tool for staff development.

Wayne Melville

The ubiquitous science department occupies an unusual position in most secondary schools. Traditionally, they have been part of the organisational structure of schools, with administrative responsibilities over room allocations, teaching assignments and the management of laboratory equipment. These are important roles, but they only tell half the story. Science teachers are more than members of an organisational structure. They are also members of a science education community which is shaped by their shared understanding of science. The science department as community also possesses a pivotal, if undervalued, role in teacher professional learning.
This book conceptualises professional learning as the engagement of teachers in a virtues-based personal reflection and/or public discourse around the episteme, techne and phronesis in the spaces ‘in-between’ the metaphors of understanding community: meanings, practice, and identity. As such, it speaks to heads of science departments, school administrators and those with an interest in leadership within schools.


Edited by Kathryn Scantlebury, Jane Butler Kahle and Sonya N. Martin

Women in science education are placed in a juxtaposition of gender roles and gendered career roles. Using auto/biography and auto/ethnography, this book examines the challenges and choices of academic women in science education and how those challenges have changed, or remained consistent, since women have become a presence in science education. The book’s contributors span a temporal and spatial continuum and focus on how a variety of issues relate to the paradoxes for academic women in science education. Science is characterized as a masculine endeavor, while teaching is described as “women’s true profession”. Thus, female academics involved in science education are positioned in two paradoxes. First, as teachers they are involved in a feminized profession. However, within that profession, women faculty in science education work in a discipline viewed as a masculine enterprise. Further, these women work in educational institutions that have higher status and prestige than their sisters in elementary, middle or high schools. Second, female professors are “bearded mothers”. Women who have engaged in science education value rationality and logic and assume authority as participants in academe. The use of logic, the acceptance of authority and the assumption of power are masculine gender-stereotyped characteristics. This situation places women in a paradox, because others, including peers and students, expect them to display stereotypic female gender dispositions, such as mothering/nurturing, sacrificing their needs for others, and a commitment to the institution.
The topics include: discussing how their engagement with science impacted their career trajectories and re-direction from science to science education, the relationships of cultural and racial factors on career trajectories, and the dialectical relationship between women’s private|public lives and their agency (collective and individual) in the academy and its enactment within academic fields. The book documents the lives and careers of academic women in science education from the United States, Australia, the Caribbean, United Kingdom, and Europe.


Edited by Alberto J. Rodriguez

In this era of mandated high stakes and standardized testing, teachers and schools officials find themselves struggling to meet the demands for improved student achievement. At the same time, they are also expected to teach all subjects as required by national and state curriculum standards. Because of these competing demands, science is not even taught or taught less often in order to make more room for mathematics and language arts “drill and practice” and “teaching to the test.” Anyone concerned with providing students with a well-rounded education should ask whether these drastic measures—even if they were to show improvement in achievement—justify denying children access to the unique opportunities for intellectual growth and social awareness that the effective instruction of science provides. Will these students have enough exposure to the science curriculum to prepare them to do well later in middle and high school? How is this current situation going to help ameliorate the pervasive achievement gap in science, and how is it going to motivate students to pursue science-related careers?
The authors of this book believe that instead of sacrificing the science curriculum to make more time for drill and practice in mathematics and language arts, what should be done is to connect current research on literacy and science instruction with effective pedagogy. Therefore, this volume provides fresh theoretical insights and practical applications for better understanding how science can be used as a pathway to teaching literacy, and hence, as a pathway to improving teachers’ practice and students’ learning.

Science in the Making at the Margin

A Multisited Ethnography of Learning and Becoming in an Afterschool Program, a Garden, and a Math and Science Upward Bound Program


Jrène Rahm

We know little about diverse youths’ engagement in science outside of school, the form such engagement takes and its impact on science literacy development and identity as a potential insider to science. We need to know more about why, how, and for whom out-of-school settings make a difference. Science in the Making at the Margin offers some answers through an in-depth and theoretically well-grounded multisited ethnography of three very different out-of-school settings: an afterschool program for girls only, a youth garden program, and a Math and Science Upward Bound Program. Grounded in sociocultural-historical theory, this book explores, youths’ meaning making of science and co-constructions of new levels of understandings of science, as well as how they come to position themselves in relation to science through participation in science practices at the margin. The author highlights the multiplicity of learning, becoming and hybridity that constitute the learning of science in the three sites studied. Her analysis suggests that most youth position themselves as science users, as youth who are creating with and learning through science with others in textually rich environments and situations, and in ways that are meaningful to them. Their identity as users of science is grounded in the forms of engagement supported by the three science practices. The challenge is then to leverage such literacy beyond the practices themselves.

Staging & Performing Scientific Concepts

Lecturing is Thinking with Hands, Eyes, Body, & Signs


Lilian Pozzer Ardenghi and Wolff-Michael Roth

In this book, the authors argue that science concepts are more than what lecturers say and write on the board—science concepts cannot be abstracted from the complex performances that take place in the classroom. Through analysis of nonverbal aspects of communication and interaction during science lectures, which take into account the body, how it is placed in and moves across space, its orientation, its movements (gestures), the aspects of the setting it marks and other resources used, the authors show how each one of the resources employed provides different types and amounts of information that need to be taken into consideration all together, as a unit, to mark and re-mark sense so that audiences may remark it. The book also provides examples that show how the integration of multiple resources provides the coherence of the ideological unit, presenting lectures as an integrated performance of knowledge in action. The book is of interest for science educators and learning scientists in general, as well as scholars interested in multimodal analysis of interaction and face-to-face communication..


Edited by Wolff-Michael Roth and Pei-Ling Hsu

Non scholae sed vitae discimus, we learn for life rather than for school. In this Roman saying, the ultimate reason for school is recognized as being a preparation for life. High school science, too, is a preparation for life, the possible careers students identify, and for defining possible future Selves. In this book, the contributors take one dataset as their object of scholarship informed by discursive psychology, Bakhtin, and poststructural positions to investigate the particulars of the language used in interviews about possible careers conducted both before and after an internship in a university science laboratory. Across this collection, some contributors focus on data driven analyses in which the authors present more macro-perspectives on the use of language in science career talk, whereas others see the data using particular lenses that provide intelligible and fruitful perspectives on what and how students and interviewer talk careers in science. Other contributors propose to transform the database into different representations that allows researchers to single out and demonstrate particular dimensions of discourse. Thus, these contributions roughly fall into three categories that are treated under the sections entitled “Discourse Analyses of Career Talk,” “Discursive Lenses and Foci,” and “Innovations in Theory, Method, and Representation of Career Talk Research.”