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The teacher's role in the transformation of students' understanding

Ritchie, S.M. (1998) The teacher's role in the transformation of students' understanding. Research in Science Education, 28 (2). pp. 169-185.

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The application of constructivist referents for teaching science has received some recent unwarranted criticism. To counter some of the pedagogical criticisms, the teacher's role and actions within a Year 6 science classroom learning community are described. In particular, my interpretation of two teaching episodes shows how the teacher helped a group of students transform their understanding of electrical circuits. The teacher in this study mediated learning by monitoring the transformation of student understanding and negotiating scientific practices—teaching practices which need to be illustrated more fully by researchers to avoid further confusion about the application of idea-based social constructivism. I argue that the teacher's role, from a social constructivist perspective, is to employ whatever strategies are needed to help students develop a deeper understanding of canonical science.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers
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