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ERIC Number: ED530427
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 237
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-1712-5
ISSN: N/A
Understanding Students' Epistemologies: Examining Practice and Meaning in Community Contexts
Bang, Megan Elisabeth
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northwestern University
There is a great need to raise the levels of science achievement for those groups of children who have traditionally underperformed. Prior cognitive research with Native people suggests that problems with achievement for Native students may be more complicated then simple problems with knowing or not knowing content knowledge. This dissertation hypothesizes that Native Americans engage in practices and have funds of knowledge that facilitate sophisticated reasoning in the domain of science. However, the knowledge and patterns of reasoning are not elicited, acceptable, or recognized in classroom science, or perhaps are in conflict with classroom science. Furthermore the divergence is not simply in the details of what is known; there is discord at the level of epistemology, in the fundamental ways in which Native people conceptualize knowledge of the natural world. This work proposes a new framework, Micro-practice epistemology, for understanding epistemology. I propose that epistemology should be understood as implicitly and explicitly embedded in the worldviews, values, beliefs and practices of our everyday lives. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods this work investigates the everyday practices related to nature, the epistemological stances and biological knowledge embedded in those practices in a 3X3 model (age cohort: child, adult, elder X community). The three communities involved in this work include: Chicago urban Indian community, Menominee reservation community, and a rural working poor white community. I find significant differences in all three areas across communities. Native communities tend to participate in practices in which some aspect of nature is fore-grounded while non-Native participants tended to participate in practices in which nature is the back-grounded. These findings are extended to explore the ways in which worldviews and values are connected to practice and knowledge about the natural world. I find significant differences in worldviews and values between Native and non-Native communities. Finally this dissertation explores the Native children's perceptions of values and meaning between their science teachers and their community elders. I find Native children are acutely aware of significant differences in values and core understandings of biology between their science teachers and their elders. The epistemological implications of these differences are discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; Wisconsin