ERIC Number: ED334828
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Science, Semantics, and Social Change.
Lemke, J. L.
Social semiotics suggests that social and cultural formations, including the language and practice of science and the ways in which new generations and communities advance them, develop as an integral part of the evolution of social ecosystems. Some recent models of complex dynamic systems in physics, chemistry, and biology focus more on the process of a system (individual development, species evolution, ecological succession) than on the product. Ecological succession can be seen as an alternative to development as a basis for models of social learning in science. While a developmental model assumes that development occurs the same way each time, ignoring individuation, a successional model looks at how complexes of interdependent species (whole animal and plant communities) develop over time in interaction with each other and with the physical environment. Successional models have a mosaic character, with subgroups in the ecosystem following the same processes at somewhat different rates. A new idea entering this ecosystem may flourish or not, depending on the conditions and processes within the ecosystem, and may change the environment for future ideas. While traditional models of science education emphasize mastery of a curriculum, the successional model promotes true intellectual development as a dynamic, evolutionary process. Contains 46 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).