A study of teachers' perspectives about using multimodal representations of concepts to enhance science learning

Prain, Vaughan and Waldrip, Bruce (2008) A study of teachers' perspectives about using multimodal representations of concepts to enhance science learning. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 8 (1). pp. 5-24. ISSN 1492-6156


[Abstract]: This paper reports on a study that aims to devise, trial, and evaluate teaching and learning strategies to improve students’ learning of science in the middle years in schools in regional Australia through a focus on multiple and multi-modal representations of science concepts. ‘Multiple’ representations refers to the practice of re-representing the same concept in different forms, including verbal, graphic and numerical modes, as well as repeated student exposures to the same concept. ‘Multi-modal’ refers to the integration of different modes within the same text to represent scientific reasoning and findings. Initially, 20 teachers were surveyed about their planning and usage of different representational modes. The findings of this survey indicated that these teachers tended to focus on resources and students’ learning styles rather than modal variation, sometimes confusing modes and resources. Few teachers expected students to be able to represent the same concept in different modes as part of understanding science.
In this paper we report in detail the beliefs and practices of two elementary teachers from the original survey who had a strong commitment to the use of modal variety for learning science. The interviewed teachers perceived that a framework that emphasized representational diversity provided a more systematic way to focus on (a) target concepts to be learnt, and (b) the development of a richer learning context that promotes engagement for student across a broad ability range.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Awaiting Author's version which may be deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2008 01:57
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2011 23:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: science; perceptions; representation; concept
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/14926150802152152
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/4528

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