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Science teacher group discussions – the forming of consensus and the exclusion of ESE related issues
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3386-3411
2015 (English)In: Education and Transition - Contributions from Educational Research, 2015Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In environmental and sustainability education, ESE there are different interpretations about which content should be taught in school. This leads to teachers having to make decisions about how to select, structure and contextualise the content (Wickman, 2012). However, teachers are not isolated individuals making their own interpretations, but are part of different institutionalised systems. Earlier research shows that teachers teach according to different selective traditions, which can be understood as well-developed teaching habits. Individual teachers seem to develop their personal habits on the basis of the contextual situations created by earlier generations of teachers.

 

In order to find out which content teachers find representative for socio-scientific issues in science education which are ESE related, I asked nine teachers, representing three selective traditions, to take part in group interviews to talk about what they value as “good” content. The starting point for the discussion is national tests in science. One aim of these national tests is to include knowledge about socio-scientific issues (SSI).

 

The aim of this study is to determine which content teachers find representative for science education in national tests. This content issue is approached from two perspectives. The first concerns the teachers’ selection of questions from the national tests and their discussions about what constitutes good science content. The second relates to the teachers’ more open discussions about the knowledge to be learned in science education and the relation between science and social science. This relation is important to study when science teachers teaching environmental issues also are supposed to include more ESE issues according to the new Swedish curriculum. These perspectives form the starting point for discussions about what counts as good science related content. This quest is formulated in two research questions:

 

What is significant in the individual teacher’s selection of content?

What are the significant differences in the group discussions representative scientific content?

 

As such, the research intends to contribute to a discussion about teachers’ selective traditions in terms of content selection can that this can be understood as situated. It also contributes to the debate about policy intentions in relation to how teachers do policy.

 

In this study, teaching traditions are theoretically approached as teachers’ habitual ways of arguing or acting. According to John Dewey (1922), an analysis of such habits does not mean comparing simple repetitive actions, but rather looking at more complex actions that are fruitful in everyday hectic teaching situations. These habits are acquired and continuously developed as a result of encounters between earlier and current experiences. Individuals develop their personal habits on the basis of the contextual situations created by earlier generations of teachers, in school and in teacher education as students, or by following one of the disciplinary traditions in their university studies. Dewey’s (1922) discussion of individual habits, and their interplay with a collective level (for example institutionalised disciplinary traditions), seems to be an accurate description of how selective traditions in teaching evolve and are consolidated in the school system.

 

The theoretical framework is developed from earlier research (Sund, forthcoming; Sund & Wickman, 2011) and Östman’s study (1995) of dominating discourses in science education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-33046OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-33046DiVA: diva2:957161
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research, Sept 8-11th, Budapest, Hungary
Available from: 2016-09-01 Created: 2016-09-01 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved

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Sund, Per

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