Techniques, tactics and strategies for conceptual change in school science

PhD Thesis


Riordan, J. 2014. Techniques, tactics and strategies for conceptual change in school science. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher Education and Development
AuthorsRiordan, J.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD
Abstract

This study explores how experienced science teachers promote conceptual change. It examines how instructional strategies, learning methods (Darden, 1991) and conceptual change interrelate.

Three research methods (expert micro-teaching, verbal protocols and retrospective debriefing) were used. Data were video-recorded and managed using NVivo. Six groups of 11 year-old pupils took part (three girls and three boys) in each expert micro-teaching interview, led by a science specialist (Advanced Skills Teacher). A ‘Concurrent Verbal Protocol and Retrospective Debriefing’ interview (Taylor and Dionne, 2000) happened with the teacher approximately one month later. Six teachers participated altogether. About fifteen hours of interview data were analysed using grounded theory methods. The interpretivist theoretical perspective (symbolic interactionism) was underpinned by a social constructionist epistemology.

What can be considered evidence is inevitably affected by the researcher’s methodological position. So what constitutes reliable evidence can be contentious. Appropriate criteria for evaluating the grounded theory emerging from this study were used. Interpretivist approaches for investigating conceptual change in school science are necessary to avoid dominance by positivist literature. This approach, proved successful in other fields (Pressley, 2000), is new to this context. The assumption that instructional strategy is a plan does not adequately explain the data collected here. However, abandoning attempts to unpick complicated interactions between pupils and teacher whilst learning takes place, leaves practitioners without guidance. Consensus exists among most conceptual change researchers that instructional strategies, learning methods and conceptual change must be considered together where possible. This present study proposes a grounded theory for how experienced science teachers promote conceptual change and questions how instructional strategy is understood in the literature.

Findings show that during and between sporadic periods of ‘conceptual conflict’ participants used eleven ‘teaching and learning techniques’. The relative weight given to each technique was termed the ‘strategic profile’ of the teacher. ‘Tactics’ is the theory of the use of teaching and learning techniques in conceptual combat. ‘Strategy’ is the theory of the use of such conceptual combats to try to achieve an aim (here to promote conceptual change). Teachers (and pupils) demonstrated and described tactical and strategic behaviour. Techniques, tactics and strategies frequently failed. How participants managed such ‘friction’ was described. Teachers and researchers view classroom dynamics from different perspectives. This study argues that an interpretivist approach, which moves back and forth between the particular and the general, can help bridge the “gap” between practice and theory in this field (Duit et al., 2008, p.629).

KeywordsConceptual change pedagogy. Instructional strategy.
Year2014
Publisher's version
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Feb 2015
Accepted2014
Accepted2014
Output statusUnpublished
Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/87383/techniques-tactics-and-strategies-for-conceptual-change-in-school-science

  • 146
    total views
  • 56
    total downloads
  • 3
    views this month
  • 5
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Pedagogy Analysis Framework: a video-based tool for combining teacher, pupil & researcher perspectives
Riordan, J., Hardman, M. and Cumbers, D. 2021. Pedagogy Analysis Framework: a video-based tool for combining teacher, pupil & researcher perspectives. Research in Science & Technological Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2021.1972960
A material-dialogic perspective on powerful knowledge and matter within a science classroom
Hardman, M., Riordan, J. and Hetherington, L. A material-dialogic perspective on powerful knowledge and matter within a science classroom. in: Hudson, B., Stolare, M., Gericke, N. and Olin-Scheller, C. (ed.) Powerful knowledge and epistemic quality across school subjects London Bloomsbury Academic.
Technology
Riordan, J. and Roberts, M. 2020. Technology. in: Soan, S. (ed.) Why do Teachers Need to Know About Diverse Learning Needs? Strengthening Professional Identity and Well-Being London Bloomsbury Academic.
A method and framework for video based pedagogy analysis.
Riordan, J. 2020. A method and framework for video based pedagogy analysis. Research in Science & Technological Education . https://doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2020.1776243
NICER science and religion encounters - year 3 lesson (creation stories)
Riordan, J. 2019. NICER science and religion encounters - year 3 lesson (creation stories). Canterbury Christ Church University
Do teachers deceive?
Riordan, J. 2015. Do teachers deceive? in: Sangster, M. (ed.) Challenging Perceptions in Primary Education: Exploring Issues in Practice London Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 34-37
How might educational research into children’s ideas about light be of use to teachers?
Riordan, J. 2014. How might educational research into children’s ideas about light be of use to teachers? Physics Education. 49 (6), pp. 644-653. https://doi.org/10.1088/0031-9120/49/6/644