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Constructivist pedagogy at work in a realist classroom. A case study exploring college students’ attitudes towards science

Jofre, Ana and Mari, Stephanie Marie (2014) Constructivist pedagogy at work in a realist classroom. A case study exploring college students’ attitudes towards science. Education in the Knowledge Society (EKS), 15 (4). pp. 34-55. ISSN 2444-8729

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Abstract

This paper presents a case study of a physics-oriented liberal studies course on Science, Technology, and Society within the framework of constructivist pedagogy. We outline the challenges of using constructivist pedagogy to teach science, a subject whose philosophy is inherently realist. On the other hand, our case study demonstrates that a realist approach to pedagogy is not always the most effective way to teach science. While we are critical of constructivist philosophy, we also acknowledge that a constructivist approach to pedagogy can be effective in science education, as long as it is tethered to realism. The case study consists of three questions asked of 234 undergraduate students from two consecutive semesters. Their responses reveal the individual and cultural biases and the weak mathematics skills that may inhibit them from engaging in scientific thinking. The case study provides some support for applying constructivist pedagogy toward realist science education, and reveals the cognitive conflicts some students face when their pre-existing beliefs differ from what is being taught in the classroom as a universal reality. Our analysis of their responses explores the cooperating roles of realist philosophy and constructivist pedagogy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pedagogy; Case study; Science Education; Constructivism; Realism; Science Technology and Society (STS).
Divisions: Research Labs > Visual Analytics Lab (VAL)
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2016 15:00
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2017 05:16
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1078

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