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Changing Teaching, Changing Times

Lessions from a South African Township Science Classroom


Jonathan Clark and Cedric Linder

This is the story of a science teacher and her work in an over-crowded and under-resourced township secondary school in contemporary South Africa. While set firmly in the present, it is also a journey into the past, shedding fresh light on how the legacy of apartheid education continues to have a major influence on teaching and learning in South Africa.
The book has a compelling story line with extensively referenced notes at the end of each chapter. It is intended for a wide audience, which includes general readers, policy makers, teacher-educators, researchers and, most importantly, practitioners in the field. For, while it reminds us of the powerful constraining role that both context and students play in mediating a teacher’s practice, it also attests to the power of individual agency. As such it is a celebration of the actions of an ordinary teacher whose willingness to leave the well-worn paths of familiar practice stands as a beacon of possibility for contexts which seem, so often, to be devoid of hope.


Edited by Marc J. de Vries and Ilja Mottier

This first volume in the International Technology Education Series offers a unique, worldwide collection of national surveys into the developments of Technology Education in the past two decades. For twenty-two countries from five continents the major changes of this school subject are described by experts that have been involved in these changes for many years themselves. The studies deal with national curricula, teacher education programs, educational research into effects of Technology Education, and practical issue at classroom level. After the 15th International Pupils’ Attitude Towards Technology conference which was held in Haarlem in April 2005, a distinguished group of scholars from the area of Technology Education decided that after 20 years it was time to give account of the state of the art in this area. This book should be of interest to students, teachers, researchers and policy-makers who are involved in technology education.

Learning Science

A Singular Plural Perspective


Wolff-Michael Roth

How do you intend (to learn, know, see) something that you do not yet know? Given the theory-laden nature of perception, how do you perceive something in a science demonstration that requires knowing the very theory that you are to learn? In this book, the author provides answers to these and other (intractable) problems of learning in science. He uses both first-person, phenomenological methods, critically analyzing his own experiences of learning in unfamiliar situations and third-person, ethnographic methods, critically analyzing the learning of students involved in hands-on investigations concerning motion and static electricity.
Roth continues his longstanding interest in understanding how we learn science and the question why all the changes to science education made over the past five decades have a significant impact of increasing understanding and interest in the subject. Roth articulates in his concluding chapter that the problem lies in part with the theories of learning employed—in the course of his biographical experience, he has appropriated and abandoned numerous theoretical frameworks, including (radical, social) constructivism, because they fell short when it came to understand real-time processes in school science classrooms.
This book, which employs the cognitive phenomenological method described in the recently published Doing Qualitative Research: Praxis of Method (SensePublishers, 2005), has been written for all those who are interested in learning science: undergraduate students preparing for a career in science teaching, graduate students interested in the problems of teaching and learning of science, and faculty members researching and teaching in science education.


Bev France and John Gilbert

This book incorporates two major themes into a model for communication about biotechnology. The first is that of a communicating community, defined as a relatively coherent social group engaging in communication within itself. As biotechnologists do not constitute a unitary group, this book refers to biotechnology communities. Similarly, the broad notion of ‘the public’ is considered to be inadequate, and the notion of distinct public communities is used. The members of each community are considered to have a view of biotechnology made up of their understandings of the nature of science of biotechnology, understandings of the key concepts and models used in biotechnology, perceptions of the nature of risk, and beliefs and attitudes about biotechnology. The second major theme is that of search space. This is the intersection, in a virtual arena, of the components of the ‘views’ of two communities. Where there are elements that are in common to the two, communication in terms of them is possible. Where there is no commonality, the degrees of understanding reached must be used to construct a mutual understanding that may evolve into an agreement.

Teaching to Learn

A View from the Field


Edited by Kenneth Tobin and Wolff-Michael Roth

A recurrent trope in education is the gap that exists between theory, taught at the university, and praxis, what teachers do in classrooms. How might one bridge this inevitable gap if new teachers are asked to learn (to talk) about teaching rather than to teach? In response to this challenging question, the two authors of this book have developed coteaching and cogenerative dialoguing, two forms of praxis that allow very different stakeholders to teach and subsequently to reflect together about their teaching. The authors have developed these forms of praxis not by theorizing and then implementing them, but by working at the elbow of new and experienced teachers, students, supervisors, and department heads.
Coteaching, which occurs when two or more teachers teach together, supports learning to teach while improving student achievement. Cogenerative dialogues are conversations among all those who have been present in a lesson; they ensure that what was learned while coteaching is beneficial for all coteachers and learners. Tobin and Roth describe the many ways coteaching and cogenerative dialogues are used to improve learning environments—dramatically improving teaching and learning across cultural borders defined by race, ethnicity, gender, and language.
Teaching to Learn is written for science educators and teacher educators along the professional continuum: new and practicing teachers, graduate students, professors, researchers, curriculum developers, evaluation consultants, science supervisors, school administrators, and policy makers. Thick ethnographic descriptions and specific suggestions provide readers access to resources to get started and continue their journeys along a variety of professional trajectories.

Doing Qualitative Research

Praxis of Method


Wolff-Michael Roth

The author takes readers on a journey of a large number of issues in designing actual studies of knowing and learning in the classroom, exploring actual data, and putting readers face to face with problems that he actually or possibly encountered, and what he has done or possibly could have done. The reader subsequently sees the results of data collection in the different analyses provided. The author shows how one writes very different studies using the same data sources but very different theoretical assumptions and analytic technique.
The author brings his publication experience in very different disciplinesinto play to provide readers with way of experiencing research as praxis. The book is organized around six major themes (sections), in the course of which it develops the practical problems an educational researcher might face in a large variety of settings. The book was written to be used by upper undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in research design and professors who want to have a reference on design and methodology.

Travelling Through Education

Uncertainty, Mathematics, Responsibility

Ole Skovsmose

This is a personal notebook from a conceptual travel. But, in a different sense, it also represents a report on travelling. The main part of the manuscript was written in Brazil, Denmark and England, whilst notes have also been inspired by visits to other countries. So, the book not only represents conceptual travel, it also reflects seasons of real travelling. In Part 1, the book comments on the critical position of mathematics education, and also indicates some concerns of critical mathematics education. Part 2 comments on mathematics in action, and considers the discussion of mathematics as an applied discipline in the contexts of technology, management, engineering, economics, etc. In Part 3, the book comments on mathematics and science in general. These comments are then generalised into a discussion of ‘reason’ and of the ‘apparatus of reason’. Finally, Part 4 returns to the discussion of mathematics education, and comments on notions that could become ‘sensitive’ to the critical position of mathematics education. Ole Skovsmose is also travelling between different academic fields. He touches upon mathematics and mathematics education, the philosophy of mathematics, technology and science, as well as sociological issues, glancing over issues such as globalisation, ghettoising, learning society, and risk society.
Travelling with the author, the reader will become aware of connections between many of these different issues.