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  • Author or Editor: Wolff-Michael Roth x
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Learning Science

A Singular Plural Perspective

Series:

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.

Doing Teacher-Research

A Handbook for Perplexed Practioners

Series:

Wolff-Michael Roth

There are many teachers who think about doing research in their own classes and schools but who are perplexed by what appears to be involved. This book is intended for these perplexed practitioners, to provide them with an easily understandable narrative about the concrete praxis of doing research in their classrooms or in those of their teacher peers teaching next door or in the same school. The fundamental idea underlying this book is to provide an easily accessible but nevertheless intellectually honest text that allows teachers to increase their agency with respect to better understanding their praxis and the events in their classrooms by means of research.
The author draws on his experience of doing teacher-research while being a high school teacher and department head. Roth uses six concrete research studies that he has conducted alone or with peers to describe the salient parts of any teacher-researcher investigation including: what topic to study; issues of ethics and permissions from students, school, and parents; how and what sources to collect; how to structure resources; how to construct data from the materials; how to derive claims; and how to write a report/research study. Roth chose the case-based approach because cases provide the details necessary for understanding why and how he, as teacher-researcher, has made certain decisions, and what he would do differently today. Using this case-based approach, he allows readers to tie methods choices to situations that they likely are familiar with.

The Culture of Science Education

Its History in Person

Series:

Edited by Kenneth Tobin and Wolff-Michael Roth

The Culture of Science Education: Its History in Person features the auto/biographies of the professional lives of 22 science educators from 11 countries situated in different places along the career ladder within an ongoing narrative of the cultural history of the field. Many contributors began to identify as science educators at about the time Sputnik was launched but others were not yet born. Hence the book articulates the making of a field with its twists and turns that define a career as a scholar in science education.
Through the eyes of the contributing scholars, the development of science education is seen in the United States and its spread to all parts of the world is tracked, leading to a current situation where some universities from overseas are exporting science education to the United States through graduate programs—especially doctoral degrees. Other key issues addressed are the conceptual personae, such as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, who have shaped the field of science education and how publishing in English in high-impact journals and obtaining external funds from private and governmental agencies have become driving forces in science education.
The Culture of Science Education: Its History in Person was written for science educators with an interest in the history of science education as it is experienced as lived culture. The book is intended as a reference book for scholars and as a text for graduate students involved in science education.

Teaching to Learn

A View from the Field

Series:

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.

Enaction

Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching

Series:

Domenico Masciotra, Wolff-Michael Roth and Denise Morel

This book is addressed to all those in the field of education or related fields, including teachers, teacher-trainers, consultants, and researchers, who are interested in exploring the question, “What does it mean to know, to learn and to teach?” Contrary to popular conceptions, an enactive perspective assumes that knowing and learning are not disembodied operations that take place solely in a person’s head. Rather, they are a function of the whole person who is firmly situated in the world and who acts in the world to transform it, just as she is transformed by it. The dynamic and transformational nature of knowing and learning are reflected in the relationship between the person and her world, a relationship that evolves through acting in and with the world rather than abstracting oneself from it. Knowing develops as a function of the person’s availability, that is, her full involvement and presence in the here- and-now. The aim of education is thus to foster the development of this relationship in a never-ending quest for deep interiority with the world.
Drawing on their experiences as teachers, curriculum developers, students, Zen practitioners, karateka, bicyclists, hobby mathematicians, and gardeners, the authors provide many concrete examples of what it means to think about knowing and learning in terms of enaction and how teachers and curriculum developers who take enactivism seriously might go about designing and implementing lessons.

Authentic Science Revisited

In Praise of Diversity, Heterogeneity, Hybridity

Series:

Wolff-Michael Roth, Michiel van Eijck, Giuliano Reis and Pei-Ling Hsu

Since its appearance in 1995, Authentic School Science has been a resource for many teachers and schools to rethink and change what they are doing in and with their science classrooms. As others were trying to implement the kinds of learning environments that we had described, our own thinking and teaching praxis changed in part because of our dissatisfaction with our own understanding. Over the years, we have piloted ever-new ways of organizing science lessons to figure out what works and how both successful and not-so-successful ways of doing science education should be theorized. In this period, we developed a commitment to cultural-historical activity theory, which does not dichotomize individual and collective, social and material, embodied and cultural forms of knowing, and so on. It turns out now that the problem does not lie with the level of agreement between school science and laboratory science but with the levels of control, authority, mastery, and authorship that students are enabled to exercise. Thus, as this book shows, even field trips may deprive students of science authenticity on outdoor activities and even classroom-based science may provide opportunities for doing science in an authentic manner, that is, with high levels of control over the learning environment, authority, master, and authorship. Ultimately, our understanding of authenticity emphasizes its heterogeneous nature, which we propose to think in terms of a different ontology, an ontology of difference, which takes mixtures, heterogeneity, and hybridity as its starting point rather than as poor derivatives of self-same, pure entities including science, scientific concepts, and scientific practice. In Authentic Science Revisited, the authors offer a refreshing new approach to theorizing, thinking, and doing authentic science.