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ERIC Number: EJ1043203
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8326
Using the Concept of Zone of Proximal Development to Explore the Challenges of and Opportunities in Designing Discourse Activities Based on Practical Work
Mestad, Idar; Kolstø, Stein Dankert
Science Education, v98 n6 p1054-1076 Nov 2014
This article reports a study in which two researchers collaborated with five teachers to facilitate discourse activities aimed to enhance students' learning from practical activities. The paper explores how certain teacher practices support or hinder students' learning. Four cases from the study were analyzed in depth using Vygotsky's concept "the zone of proximal development" and Wallace's notion of language authenticity. The analyses indicated that although respected pedagogical principles underlie teaching, students' use their own prior concepts to a limited degree to express their developing understanding of inquiry into scientific phenomena and ideas. The analyses showed how the teachers emphasized theoretical knowledge and hoped to enable the students to correctly interpret their observations and apply scientific theory. However, this emphasis hindered students' articulations of their developing understanding. The results indicated that working within students' zones of proximal development during practical activities requires a novel approach. Based on Wallace's notion of "third space," we argue that it is important to encourage students to work with their own authentic language to develop a more scientific language when performing practical work.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A