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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.

Democratic Science Teaching

Building the Expertise to Empower Low-Income Minority Youth in Science

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Edited by Sreyashi Jhumki Basu, Angela Calabrese Barton and Edna Tan

Democratic science pedagogy has the potential to shape learning outcomes and science engagement by taking on directly issues of pedagogy, learning, and social justice. In this text we provide a framework for democratic science teaching in order to interrogate the purposes and goals of science education in classrooms globally, as well as to call attention to ways of being in the classroom that position teachers and students as important and powerful participants in their own learning and as change-agents of a larger global society. We develop three core conceptual tools for democratic science teaching, that together frame ways of thinking and being in classrooms that work towards a more just world: Voice, Authority, and Critical Science Literacy. Each conceptual tool is developed in the introductory chapters then taken up in different pedagogical and analytic ways in the chapters that span the text. The chapters present researcher, teacher, and student centered lenses for investigating democratic science education and reflect elementary through high school education, both in school and out of school, in the US and globally.

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Edited by David B. Zandvliet

Research in environmental education (EE) is a growing field of inquiry and should be seen as respondent to a variety of program developments around the world. These diverse programs are the context for this body of educational research. Diversity in EE research is also compounded when one considers the various cultures, epistemologies and research traditions that may inform the field. This complexity accounts for the range of forms for environmental learning in formal, informal or non-formal contexts.
There is a good deal of evidence that, in order to be more responsive to the needs of diverse populations, program developments around the world are now beginning to reflect the variation in our society. However, the same cannot always be said in terms of research methodologies within mainstream environmental education research. Outside of a few examples, there seems to have been very little in the way of development of research genres aimed at understanding, characterizing and supporting cultural diversity within much of mainstream environmental education. Diversity of method may also be important for the overall quality (or health) of environmental education research. To locate many of the new ideas and approaches in this area, one needs to look outside environmental education, towards general educational research, or to other fields such as environmental justice, indigenous education, science education and health education to name only a few examples.
This volume of original research reports from around the globe begins to richly describe aspects of diversity in environmental education research. It does so in two ways: first, it mirrors the diversity of voices and cultures that are conducting research in this ever-broadening and increasingly global and international field of inquiry, second: it illuminates a potential diversity of research methods by highlighting a range of methodologies salient in other fields which have emerging promise for the practice of research in environmental education.

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Linda S. Behar-Horenstein, Alice C. Dix, Kellie W. Riberts and Melissa L. Johnson

In this chapter, the authors describe the findings of three recent studies focusing on the mentoring of undergraduate honors’ science scholars and the students’ research and course experiences. In the first study, they explain students’ expectations of the mentoring process, what students hoped to learn and what skills they hoped to develop under the guidance of mentors. Also described are the mentoring professors’ goals and what skills they hoped students would acquire. In the second study, the authors expound on the mentoring and learning that took place among students midway through their first year. Additionally, they explain the mentoring that professors provided and their assessment of what students learned. The final study illustrates the students’ experiences in an introductory course that was designed to encourage their entry into guided and independent research activities. The findings of these studies add to a research base on undergraduate science research experiences that historically have been primarily quantitative. Qualitative methods are used to portray students’ and professors’ voices as this university culture begins to shape students’ abilities to think like scientists.

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Edited by Michele Hollingsworth Koomen, Sami Kahn, Christopher L. Atchison and Tiffany A. Wild

Towards Inclusion of All Learners through Science Teacher Education serves as an indispensable resource for teachers and teacher educators wishing to understand how to educate students with exceptionalities in science. This book begins with the voices and stories of the experts: current and former K-12 students with disabilities sharing their experiences in science education classrooms. The voices of students with disabilities are then connected to the work of leading experts in the area of science education for individuals with disabilities in an effort to address the goals of national reform documents by ensuring rigorous science experiences for all students. It is written in a highly accessible and practical manner, making it ideal for all educators including pre-service and in-service teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and curriculum developers.

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Edited by Michele Koomen, Sami Kahn, Christopher L. Atchison and Tiffany A. Wild

Towards Inclusion of All Learners through Science Teacher Education serves as an indispensable resource for teachers and teacher educators wishing to understand how to educate students with exceptionalities in science. This book begins with the voices and stories of the experts: current and former K-12 students with disabilities sharing their experiences in science education classrooms. The voices of students with disabilities are then connected to the work of leading experts in the area of science education for individuals with disabilities in an effort to address the goals of national reform documents by ensuring rigorous science experiences for all students. It is written in a highly accessible and practical manner, making it ideal for all educators including pre-service and in-service teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and curriculum developers.

Putting Theory into Practice

Tools for Research in Informal Settings

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Edited by Doris B. Ash, Jrène Rahm and Leah M. Melber

Informal learning, also called free choice learning or out-of-school time, is a relatively new field that has grown exponentially in the past 15 years. Research on the learning and teaching that takes place in these non-traditional, non-classroom environments, such as museums, gardens, afterschool and community programs, has enjoyed tremendous growth; yet we still need to understand much more, and more deeply, how people actually interact, participate and learn in such settings. Putting Theory into Practice: Tools for Research in Informal Settings is designed as a research and practice toolkit, offering a range of theoretically well-grounded methods for assessing learning for life in diverse settings and among diverse populations. We pay special attention to the full complexity, challenges and richness involved in such research into learning in places like museums, aquariums, after-school clubs, and gardens. Putting Theory into Practice serves both, researchers and practitioners, as well as a more general audience. This book offers several field-tested methods for building empirically-based, informal learning settings and research deeply grounded and guided by theory. Sociocultural theory, broadly defined, forms the unifying theoretical framework for the different qualitative studies presented. Each chapter clearly lays out the theoretical underpinnings and how these inform the suggested methods. The chapters are written by recognized experts in the field, and each addresses, in its own way, “the synergy among different learning contexts and the benefits of studying how contexts influence learning.” Together they give voice to the diversity, richness, and complexity of the study of learners and learning for life.

On Narrative Perception and Creativity

The Role of Video Editing in Eliciting them from Children

Chronis Kynigos, Nikos Kazazis and Katerina Makri

This paper reports an exploratory case study with children aged from 10-13, into specific aspects of narrative. The functionalities of a video creation and editing application, in combination with researchers’ input to the program, are used to elicit children’s narrative perception and trigger a creative process. During this activity children adopted existing techniques in order to record and produce their own videos, as reproductions of a well known fairy tale. The learning process and the children’s products were examined in terms of their relation to specific aspects of narrative. The process is considered as a chance for children to shape their own authentic hermeneutic stances on the story. The videos are seen as constructions employing different media modalities such as written text, verbal elements (voice narration) and dialogic elements in written form (dialogue bubbles). Two main strategies employed by the children are distinguished, one emphasizing written elements, and one exploiting a wider range of available functionalities, producing a multimodal narrative. Preliminary data are reported to inform further exploration.

Scientific Literacy for Participation

A Systemic Functional Approach to Analysis of School Science Discourses

Erik Knain

Scientific literacy is approached on the premise that language is key to understand the nature of both learning and participation, in scientists’ practices as well as in liberal education for citizenship. Some of the questions that are addressed in the book are:

• What does it take to be able to participate in different arenas in society involving science?
• How does everyday language relate to scientific language?
• How can students’ texts be analyzed to gain insights into their learning?
• How can images be analyzed alongside verbal language?

This book offers a thorough introduction to key ideas in M. A. K. Halliday’s systemic functional grammar through examples and practical analysis. Detailed analysis is offered of science textbooks and curriculum documents, classroom talk, experimental work, and students’ discussions of complex environmental issues. Further, an analytical model guiding the design and analysis of science learning discourses is introduced.
The book starts with introducing excerpts from whole-class discussions, group work, experimental reports and textbooks as text-in-context. From this starting point, key aspects of language are carefully explained. The role of grammatical metaphor in the development of science knowledge is an important topic throughout the book. Tools for analyzing multimodal representations, intertextuality and multiple voices are also among the topics covered for understanding and analyzing school science discourses.