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'Beating about the bush' on the how and why in elementary school science
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
2012 (English)In: Education Inquiry, ISSN 2000-4508, Vol. 3, no 4, 495-511 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we examine teacher instruction on scientific literacy tasks and teacher expression of ultimate and subordinate purposes during one teaching sequence of a science unit. By using a Practial Epistemology Analysis and Systemic Functional Gammar we can provide a view of the direction learning takes and the consequences for student text production. The material comprises transcribed audio recordings of teacher instruction, students' pair work and written texts. The results show that the students are mainly involved in hands-on activities while aspects of scientific literacy are not foregrounded. Language use is dominantly spoken and, when written texts is requested, no explicit instruction on how to write is given, resulting in a variety of texts from 'more-spoken-like' to 'more-written-like' without adhering to scientific genre. Ultimate purposes are never expressed while subordinate purposes are to some extent made explicit, but obscured by the dominant focus on 'doing', resulting in uncertainty about why the activity is requested. As a result, the learning direction is not always in accordance with teacher intention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2012. Vol. 3, no 4, 495-511 p.
Keyword [en]
elementary school science, purpose, scientific literacy
National Category
Research subject
Science Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83075OAI: diva2:573922
Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2012-12-13Bibliographically approved

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Jakobson, Britt
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