Exploring Pupils’ “Pathways” towards the Identification of Obstacles: The Case of Thermal Equilibrium

By Michael Skoumios and Vassilia Hatzinikita.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A research-based approach in science education suggests the didactic elaboration of pupils’ conceptions about science concepts at a more general level and particularly at obstacle level. Obstacle elaboration mainly aims at developing pupils’ competence to identify obstacles in new problems and control new manifestations of the obstacles so that they could avoid them in case they reappear. The present paper focuses on the evaluation of a teaching sequence which aims to develop pupils’ competence to identify an obstacle that refers to thermal equilibrium states. A teaching sequence, relevant to “identifying” the obstacle, was designed and implemented in primary school pupils (aged 11-12). The qualitative analysis of pupils’ oral and written discourse during the teaching sequence brings out the differences among the “pathways” followed towards the development of pupils’ competence to identify the obstacles as well as the contribution of different teaching situations to the identification of obstacles by the pupils.

Keywords: Obstacles, Didactic Elaboration on Obstacles, Competences, Identification of Obstacles by Pupils, Science Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp.71-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 719.355KB).

Dr. Michael Skoumios

Lecturer, Department of Primary Education, University of Aegean, Rhodes, Greece

Dr. Michael Skoumios obtained a first degree in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1987, a second degree in Education from the University of Aegean in 1992 and his PhD in Science Education from the Hellenic Open University in 2005. His research interests include science concept learning and teaching science in primary and secondary schools. He is currently teaching Science Education in the Department of Primary Education of the University of the Aegean (Greece).

Prof. Vassilia Hatzinikita

Professor, Academic Coordinator of the Master in Education, School of Humanities, Hellenic Open University, Patras, Greece

Professor Vassilia Hatzinikita is currently an academic coordinator of the Master in Education in the Hellenic Open University and a coordinator of Educational Research in Action module. Her research interests concern science teaching and learning as well as the analysis and development of educational materials. She has published a considerable number of research papers in journals, books and conference proceedings and has developed educational material for the Science Education module of the Hellenic Open University.

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