ERIC Number: EJ1089404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Conceptual Demand of Science Curricula: A Study at the Middle School Level
Calado, Sílvia; Neves, Isabel P.; Morais, Ana M.
Pedagogies: An International Journal, v8 n3 p255-277 2013
This article addresses the issue of the level of conceptual demand of science curricula by analysing the case of the current Portuguese Natural Sciences curriculum for middle school. Conceptual demand is seen in terms of the complexity of cognitive skills, the complexity of scientific knowledge and the intra-disciplinary relations between distinct knowledges within the same discipline. The article also analyses recontextualizing processes that may occur within the official recontextualizing field. Theoretically, it is based on Vygotsky's ideas and Bernstein's theory of pedagogic discourse and uses a mixed methodology. The results show that the document with the broad guidelines of the curriculum contains a relatively high level of conceptual demand in terms of the three dimensions of conceptual demand studied. This message is recontextualized, in the direction of decreasing its conceptual demand, in the document with specific guidelines. The article explores consequences, in terms of "all" students' scientific literacy, of the low level of conceptual demand recommended by the document with specified pedagogic guidelines, since teachers and textbook authors rely mostly on this official text to guide their practices and texts. 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: Secondary School Science, Middle Schools, Science Instruction, Science Curriculum, National Curriculum, Scientific Concepts, Scientific Literacy, Teaching Methods, Foreign Countries, Mixed Methods Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Middle Schools; Junior High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Portugal
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A