Advertisement

Exemplification in Undergraduate Biology: Dominant Images and Their Impact on Student Acquisition of Conceptual Knowledge

  • Alandeon W. Oliveira
  • Erin Johnston
  • Adam Oliver Brown
Article

Abstract

Striving to better understand exemplification, this study examines the types of animal behavior references (anthropomorphic/non-anthropomorphic) and taxonomic groups featured in the examples given by an undergraduate biology instructor during a semester-long course. It is reported that instruction was dominated by anthropomorphic examples of mammals and birds. Further, these dominant examples were found to bias the conceptual knowledge acquired by students who showed a tendency to conceive of nonhuman conduct in terms of mammalian and avian action. It is argued that extending biological exemplification practices beyond mammals and birds is essential to help students develop deep conceptual knowledge and an unbiased appreciation of life.

Keywords

Biology examples Animal behavior Undergraduate biology Dominant images 

Résumé

Afin de mieux comprendre l’exemplification, cette étude analyse les types de références au comportement animal (anthropomorphique/non anthropomorphique) et aux groupes taxonomiques qui figurent dans les exemples donnés par un enseignant de biologie au premier cycle dans un cours semestriel à l’université. Il semble que les exemples anthropomorphiques sur les mammifères et les oiseaux dominent cet enseignement. De plus, les exemples dominants ont pour résultat d’influencer les connaissances conceptuelles acquises par les étudiants, qui tendent à concevoir les comportements non humains en termes de références aux mammifères et aux oiseaux. Nous estimons que le fait d’étendre les pratiques d’exemplification biologique au-delà des mammifères et des oiseaux est. essentiel pour aider les étudiants à développer des connaissances conceptuelles profondes ainsi qu’une appréciation non partiale de la vie.

References

  1. Alcock, J. (2013). Animal behavior (10th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bakhtin, M.M. (1981). Discourse in the novel. In M. Holquist (Ed), The dialogic imagination. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bakhtin, M. (1986). The problem of the text in linguistics, philology and the human sciences. In C. Emerson & M. Holquist (Eds.), Speech genres and other late essays (pp. 103–131). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  4. Ballouard, J.M., Brischoux, F., & Bonnet, X. (2011). Children prioritize virtual exotic biodiversity over local biodiversity. PloS one, 6(8), e23152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bednekoff, P.A. (2005). Animal behaviour in introductory textbooks: Consensus on topics, confusion over terms. Bioscience, 55, 444–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett-Levy, J. and Marteau, T. (1984). Fear of Animals: What is prepared? British Journal of Psychology. 75: 37–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernard, H.R. (2002). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (5th ed). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bills, L., Mason, J., Watson, A., & Zaslavsky, O. (2006). RF02: Exemplification: The use of examples in teaching and learning mathematics. In J. Novotná, H. Moraová, M. Krátká, & N. Stehlíková (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th annual conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 1 (pp. 125–154). Prague: PME.Google Scholar
  9. Bogdan, R.C. & Biklen, S.K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods (4th ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  10. Busselle R.W., & Shrum, L.J. (2003). Media exposure and exemplar accessibility. Media Psychology, 5, 255–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carlson, G. (2006a). Reference. In L. Horn, and G. Ward (Eds.), The handbook of pragmatics (pp. 74–96). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carlson G. (2006b). Generic reference. In K. Brown (Ed.), The encyclopedia of language and linguistics (2nd ed) (pp. 14). Elsevier.Google Scholar
  13. Celis-Diez, J.L., Díaz-Forestier, J., Márquez-García, M., Lazzarino, S., Rozzi, R., Armesto, J.J. (2016). Biodiversity knowledge loss in children’s books and textbooks. Frontiers in ecology and the environment. 14(8), 408–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coley, J.D., Solomon, G.E.A., & Shafton, P. (2002). The development of folkbiology: A cognitive science perspective on children’s understanding of the biological world. In P.H. Kahn & S.R. Kellert (Eds), Children and nature: Psychological, sociocultural, and evolutionary investigations (pp. 65–92). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cook, K. (2009).Asuggested project-based evolution unit for high school: Teaching content through application. The American Biology Teacher, 71, 95–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Creswell, J.W., (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. das Neves, J.P.C. and Monteiro, RCR (2014). How full is your luggage? Background knowledge of zoo visitors regarding sharks. Environmental Education Research, 20, 3, 291–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dove, J. (2011). Rainforest depiction in children’s resources. Journal of Biological Education, 45(4), 208–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Echo360 (2015). Echo 360 active learning. Retrieved on May 12th 2015 from http://echo360.com/
  21. Evans, H. E. (1968). Life on a little-known planet. New York: Dutton.Google Scholar
  22. Galinsky, A.D., Magee, J.C., Gruenfeld, D.H., Whitson, J.A., & Liljenquist, K.A. (2008). Social power reduces the strength of the situation: Implications for creativity, conformity, and dissonance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1450–1466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gopnik, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (1998). Words, thoughts, and theories. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Halmos, P.R. (1983). Selecta: Expository writing. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huxham, M., Welsh, A., Berry, A., & Templeton, S. (2006). Factors influencing primary school children’s knowledge of wildlife. Journal of Biological Education, 41 (1), 9–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ildefonso, G.M. (2011) Not a laughing matter: The value of leisure in education. Curriculum Inquiry, 41, 48-56.Google Scholar
  27. Jones, S. (2007) Reflections on the lecture: Outmoded medium or instrument of inspiration? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 31(4), 397–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kahn, P.H. (1999). The human relation with nature: Development and culture (pp. 25–43). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  29. Kallery, M., & Psillos, M. (2004). Anthropomorphism and animism in early years science: Why teachers use them, how they conceptualize them and what are their views on their use. Research in Science Education, 34, 291–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kellert, S.R. (1993). Values and perceptions of invertebrates. Conservation Biology, 7, 845–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Le Pelley, G.C., Reimers, S.J., Calvini, G., Spears, R., Beesley, T., & Murphy, R.A. (2010). Stereotype formation: Biased by association. Journal of Experimental Psychology,139, (1), 138–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Legare, C. H., Lane, J. D., Evans, E. M. (2013). Anthropomorphizing science: How does it affect the development of evolutionary concepts? Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 59, 168–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  34. Lindemann-Matthies, P. (2005). “Loveable” mammals and “lifeless” plants: How children’s interest in common local organisms can be enhanced through observation of nature. International Journal of Science Education, 27(6), 655–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lockwood, J.A. (2013). The infested mind: Why humans fear, loathe, and love insects. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Looy, H., Dunkel, F. V., & Wood, J. R. (2014). How then shall we eat? Insect-eating attitudes and sustainable foodways. Agriculture and Human Values, 31, 131–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Losey, J.E., & Vaughan, M. (2006). The economic value of ecological services provided by insects. Bioscience, 56(4), 311–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Magntorn, O., & Helldén, G. (2007). Reading new environments: Students’ ability to generalise their understanding between different ecosystems. International Journal of Science Education, 29(1), 67–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mann, S., & Robinson, A. (2009). Boredom in the lecture theatre: An investigation into the contributors, moderators and outcomes of boredom amongst university students. British Educational Research Journal, 35, 243–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Meiser, T., & Hewstone, M. (2004). Cognitive processes in stereotype formation: The role of correct contingency learning for biased group judgement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 599–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Myers, O.E., & Saunders, C.D. (2002). Animals as links toward developing caring relationships with the natural world. In P.H. Khan & S.R. Kellert (Eds), Children and nature: Psychological, sociocultural, and evolutionary investigations (pp. 153–175). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  42. National Research Council (2012). Discipline-based education research: Understanding and improving learning in undergraduate science and engineering. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/13362.Google Scholar
  43. Oliveira, A.W., & Brown, A.O. (2016). Exemplification in science instruction: Teaching and learning through examples. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53, 737–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Orlander, A.A. (2016). ‘So, what do men and women want? Is it any different from what animals want?’ Sex education in an upper secondary school. Research in Science Education, 46, 811–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ormrod, J.E. (2012) Concept learning. In N.M. Seel (Ed), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning (pp. 728–729). Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Parker, W.C. (1988). Thinking to learn concepts. Social Studies, 79, 70–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Parker, W.C. (2011). Social studies in elementary education. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  48. Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  49. Pitt, D.B., & Shockley, M. (2014). Don’t fear the creeper: Do entomology outreach events influence how the public perceives and values insects and arachnids? American Entomologist, 60 (2), 97–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Prokop, P., Kubiatko, M., & Fančovičová, J. (2007). Why do cocks crow? Children’s concepts about birds. Research in Science Education, 37 (4), 393–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Randler, C. (2008). Teaching species identification: A prerequisite for learning biodiversity and understanding ecology. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 4(3), 223–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Robson, C. (2002). Real world research (2nd ed). United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  53. Rumbaugh, D.M., King, J.E., Beran, M.J., Washburn, D.A., & Gould, K. (2012). A salience theory of learning. In N.M. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning (pp. 1–4). Germany: Springer.Google Scholar
  54. Smith, S.M., Ward, T.B., & Schumacher, J.S. (1993). Constraining effects of examples in a creative generation task. Memory and Cognition, 21, 837–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Snyder, V.L., & Broadway, F.S. (2004). Queering high school biology textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 617–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sutherland, P., & Badger, R. (2004). Lecturer’s perceptions of lectures. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28(3), 277–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tomasello, M. (2000). The cultural origins of human cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Tsamir, P., Tirosh, D., & Levenson, E. (2008). Intuitive nonexamples: The case of triangles. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 69(2), 81–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Turiel, E. (1998). Moral development. In W. Damon (Ed.) Handbook of child psychology (Vol. 3) (5th ed.) (pp. 863–932). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  60. Waldenfels, B. (2015). For example. In M. Lowrie, & S. Ludemann (Eds.), Exemplarity and singularity: Thinking through particulars in philosophy, literature, and law (pp. 36–43). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Watson, A. & Mason, J. (2005). Mathematics as a constructive activity: Learners generating examples. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Wolf, C. (2008). Flesch and finitude: Thinking animals in (post)humanist philosophy. SubStance, 37(3), 8–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Yen, C.F., Yao, T.W., & Mintzes, J.J. (2007). Taiwanese students’ alternative conceptions of animal biodiversity. International Journal of Science Education, 29(4), 535–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Young, M., Robinson, S., & Alberts, P. (2011). Students pay attention!: Combating the vigilance decrement to improve learning during lectures. Active Learning in Higher Education, 10, 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zillman, D. (1999). Exemplification theory: Judging the whole by some of its parts. Media Psychology, 1, 69–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zillman, D. & Brosius, H.D. (2000). Exemplification in communication: The influence of case reports on the perception of issues. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ontario Institute for Educational Studies (OISE) 2018
corrected publication (July/2018)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alandeon W. Oliveira
    • 1
  • Erin Johnston
    • 2
  • Adam Oliver Brown
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Educational Theory and Practice DepartmentState University of New YorkAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations