Document Type

PhD diss.

Date of Degree

2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Department

Science Education

First Advisor

Brian Hand

Abstract

In this study an interpretive learning framework that aims to measure learning on the classroom level is introduced. In order to develop and evaluate the value of the framework, a theoretical/empirical study is designed. The researcher attempted to illustrate how the proposed framework provides insights on the problem of classroom-level learning. The framework is developed by construction of connections between the current literature on science learning and Wittgenstein's language-game theory. In this framework learning is defined as change of classroom language-game or discourse. In the proposed framework, learning is measured by analysis of classroom discourse. The empirical explanation power of the framework is evaluated by applying the framework in the analysis of learning in a fifth-grade science classroom. The researcher attempted to analyze how students' colloquial discourse changed to a discourse that bears more resemblance to science discourse. The results of the empirical part of the investigation are presented in three parts: first, the gap between what students did and what they were supposed to do was reported. The gap showed that students during the classroom inquiry wanted to do simple comparisons by direct observation, while they were supposed to do tool-assisted observation and procedural manipulation for a complete comparison. Second, it was illustrated that the first attempt to connect the colloquial to science discourse was done by what was immediately intelligible for students and then the teacher negotiated with students in order to help them to connect the old to the new language-game more purposefully. The researcher suggested that these two events in the science classroom are critical in discourse change. Third, it was illustrated that through the academic year, the way that students did the act of comparison was improved and by the end of the year more accurate causal inferences were observable in classroom communication. At the end of the study, the researcher illustrates that the application of the proposed framework resulted in an improved version of the framework. The improved version of the proposed framework is more connected to the topic of science learning, and is able to measure the change of discourse in higher resolution.

Pages

xii, 177

Bibliography

175-177

Copyright

Copyright 2011 Mohammad Ahmadibasir