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Extending the complexity of powerful learning environments

Acknowledging the role of emotions in classroom learning

Peter Op 't Eynde, Erik De Corte and Lieven Verschajfel


Jose P. Mestre, Brian H. Ross, David T. Brookes, Adam D. Smith and Timothy J. Nokes

Cognitive science research focuses on how the mind works, including topics such as thinking, problem solving, learning and transfer. Much of this research remains unknown in science education circles, yet is relevant for the design of instructional strategies in the sciences. We outline some difficulties in learning science, along with a discussion of some relevant cognitive science research. We then present a cognitive science-based intervention in physics education aimed at promoting conceptual understanding within a problem solving context. In addition, we present assessments of problem solving and conceptual understanding to better examine the differences between knowledge learned from this approach compared to traditional instruction. Finally, we present some pilot data on an initial implementation of the approach.

How should I know?

Preservice Teachers' Images of Knowing (by Heart ) in Mathematics and Science


Kathleen T. Nolan

Elementary preservice teachers’school experiences of mathematics and science have shaped their images of knowing, including what counts as knowledge and what it means to know (in) mathematics and science. In this book, preservice teachers’ voices challenge the hegemony of official everyday narratives relating to these images.
The book is written as a parody of a physical science textbook on the topic of light, presenting a kaleidoscope of elementary preservice teachers’ narratives of knowing (in) mathematics and science. These narratives are tied together by the metaphorical thread of the properties of light, but also held apart by the tensions and contradictions with/in such a critical epistemological exploration. Through a postmodern lens, the only grand narrative that could be imag(in)ed for this text is one in which the personal lived experience narratives of the participants mingle and interweave to create a sort of kaleidoscope of narratives. With each turn of a kaleidoscope, light’s reflection engenders new patterns and emergent designs. The narratives of this research text highlight patterns of exclusion, gendered messages, binary oppositions, and the particle nature and shadowy texture of knowing (in) mathematics and science. The presentation format of the book emphasizes the reflexive and polyphonic nature of the research design, illustrated through layers of spoken text with/in performative text with/in metaphorical text.
The metaphor of a kaleidoscope is an empowering possibility for a critical narrative written to both engage and provoke the reader into imag(in)ing a critical journey toward possibilities for a different “knowing by heart” in mathematics and science and for appreciating lived experience narratives with/in teacher education.

How Does Light Travel?

Rectilinear Propagation of Light


Kathleen T. Nolan