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Researching Effective Pedagogies for Developing the Literacies of Science: Some Theoretical and Practical Considerations

  • Vaughan PrainEmail author
Chapter

Science education researchers now broadly agree about the fundamental role of the literacies of science in learning in elementary and secondary school (Gee, 2004; Lemke, 1998, 2003; Moje, 2007; Norris & Phillips, 2003; Yore, 2004). These literacies include all the signifying language practices of science discourse, including verbal, visual, and mathematical languages, as well as understanding the purposes and rationale for these literacies in representing scientific thinking and practices. For example, verbal language refers not just to technical science vocabulary and knowledge of functional features of particular science text types but also to verbal reasoning capacities evident in scientific explanations (Osborne, Erduran, & Simon, 2004). There is now broad consensus that students need to learn what Moje has characterized aptly as “disciplinary literacy” (p. 1). In the case of science, this means that students need to (a) learn how, why, and when they should interpret and construct models, graphs, tables, and diagrams and then (b) integrate these representations with the written language of science as part of the broader process of becoming scientifically literate.

Researchers in this field are united in seeking to characterize and explain current or possible future effective classroom practices that promote, or could promote, this disciplinary learning. However, as with all key curricular areas in school, researchers are now also more aware of (a) the marked diversity of learners' needs, cultural resources, and representational capacities; (b) the impact of new technologies on how science is conducted and represented in the science community, and possible or desirable parallel teaching and learning tasks in school; and (c) the complex challenges entailed in students learning the meaningmaking and knowledge-production practices of this subject. In the science education research community, this has led to a fitting diversity of research orientations and foci for study.

Keywords

Educational Research Science Classroom Effective Pedagogy National Science Teacher Association Science Writing Heuristic 
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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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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