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ERIC Number: EJ1121598
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 32
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1871-1502
The Many Roles of "Explanation" in Science Education: A Case Study
Rocksén, Miranda
Cultural Studies of Science Education, v11 n4 p837-868 Dec 2016
In this paper the role of explanations is discussed in relation to possible consequences originating in the polysemy of the word explanation. The present study is a response to conceptual confusions that have arisen in the intersection between theory and practice, and between science education literature and communication in authentic science classroom settings. Science classroom communication is examined in terms of one teacher's word use during eleven lessons about evolution. The study contributes empirical examples of how disciplinary norms of valid explanations are manifested in science classroom communication. A dialogical analysis shows how the teacher provides three conversational structures: asking for acts of explanation, providing opportunities to talk about what explanations are in this context and providing opportunities to talk about explanations constructed by students. These three structures facilitate the process of learning how to evaluate and justify explanations. Three potential meanings of the word "explanation" are pointed to: an everyday meaning, a pedagogical--professional meaning and a scientific meaning of the word. It is suggested that the co-existence of these three potential meanings has communicative consequences in science education.
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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
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A