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Representation construction to support conceptual change
chapterposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Russell TytlerRussell Tytler, Vaughan PrainVaughan Prain
In this chapter we describe an approach incorporating pragmatist, semiotic, sociocultural, and cognitive science perspectives that addresses concerns about the difficulty of conceptual change by focusing on student engagement in sequences of representational challenges to support conceptual growth. We consider that this focus on guided development of students’ representational resources and competence (a) provides strong student motivation to reason about science concepts, and (b) offers a theoretically justifiable and highly practical way to support and direct student conceptual mastery. We view our approach as a form of guided inquiry that is compatible with model-based reasoning orientations, but also provides precise strategies to focus on and support student conceptual learning. We put a case that guided construction of representations productively constrains students’ reasoning and learning of science concepts and processes. Finally, we explore the theoretical implications of this work for the conceptualization of the conceptual change process.