Science & Education

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1423–1441 | Cite as

Workshop on Friction: Understanding and Addressing Students’ Difficulties in Learning Science Through a Hermeneutical Perspective

  • Sangwoo Ha
  • Gyoungho Lee
  • Calvin S. Kalman


Hermeneutics is useful in science and science education by emphasizing the process of understanding. The purpose of this study was to construct a workshop based upon hermeneutical principles and to interpret students’ learning in the workshop through a hermeneutical perspective. When considering the history of Newtonian mechanics, it could be considered that there are two methods of approaching Newtonian mechanics. One method is called the ‘prediction approach’, and the other is called the ‘explanation approach’. The ‘prediction approach’ refers to the application of the principles of Newtonian mechanics. We commonly use the prediction approach because its logical process is natural to us. However, its use is correct only when a force, such as gravitation, is exactly known. On the other hand, the ‘explanation approach’ could be used when the nature of a force is not exactly known. In the workshop, students read a short text offering contradicting ideas about whether to analyze a friction situation using the explanation approach or the prediction approach. Twenty-two college students taking an upper-level mechanics course wrote their ideas about the text. The participants then discussed their ideas within six groups, each composed of three or four students. Through the group discussion, students were able to clarify their preconceptions about friction, and they responded to the group discussion positively. Students started to think about their learning from a holistic perspective. As students thought and discussed the friction problems in the manner of hermeneutical circles, they moved toward a better understanding of friction.


Group Discussion Newtonian Mechanic Explanation Approach Prediction Approach Newtonian Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics EducationSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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