ERIC Number: EJ1039232
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
Conceptual Demand of Practical Work in Science Curricula
Ferreira, Sílvia; Morais, Ana M.
Research in Science Education, v44 n1 p53-80 Feb 2014
This article addresses the issue of the level of complexity of practical work in science curricula and is focused on the discipline of Biology and Geology at high school. The level of complexity is seen in terms of the emphasis on and types of practical work and, most importantly, in terms of its level of conceptual demand as given by the complexity of scientific knowledge, the degree of inter-relation between knowledges, and the complexity of cognitive skills. The study also analyzes recontextualizing processes that may occur within the official recontextualizing field. The study is psychologically and sociologically grounded, particularly on Bernstein's theory of pedagogic discourse. It uses a mixed methodology. The results show that practical work is poorly represented in the curriculum, particularly in the case of laboratory work. The level of conceptual demand of practical work varies according to the text under analysis, between the two subjects Biology and Geology, and, within each of them, between general and specific guidelines. Aspects studied are not clearly explicated to curriculum receivers (teachers and textbooks authors). The meaning of these findings is discussed in the article. In methodological terms, the study explores assumptions used in the analysis of the level of conceptual demand and presents innovative instruments constructed for developing this analysis.
Descriptors: Science Curriculum, Science Instruction, Biology, Geology, High School Students, Mixed Methods Research, Scientific Concepts, Innovation, Teaching Methods, Guidelines, Discourse Modes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A