En fråga om frågor : hur lärares frågor i klassrummet gör det möjligt att få reda på elevernas sätt att förstå det som undervisningen behandlar i matematik och naturvetenskap
A question about questions : How teachers’ questioning makes it possible to learn about the students’ ways of understanding the content taught in mathematics and science
This thesis reports results from a study that focuses on how teachers can learn about their students’ learning in mathematics and science. Current perspectives on learning are positioned in terms of the acquisition and participation metaphor. A third metaphor, the constitutive metaphor, is proposed and elaborated as an alternative for the current study. The theoretical framework draws upon and tries to further inform phenomenography and the ”theory of variation”. The empirical material was generated from audio-taped classroom interactions and follow-up interviews. With the aid of concrete examples, teachers were probed on their understandings of selected parts of the interaction observed. The results are described in terms of variant and invariant aspects of possible learning objects for the teacher. I pay particular attention to what the students possibly focus upon, and how they deal with the focused content in three different zones – the topical, the conceptual and the procedural zone. The outcome of the study is discussed in relation to teachers’ knowledge. Pedagogical content knowing is scrutinised and a complementary perspective where teachers’ knowledge is viewed as constituted by different contextualisations of the subject matter is used to illustrate the interdependency of content as a discipline, content as taught in school and content as understood by students. The result shows that teachers have, relatively speaking, small possibilities of making distinctions within the conceptual zone. In mathematics the topical zone dominates the interaction, in science the procedural. In other words, in mathematics the teachers mainly open for possibilities to learn, if their students remember facts and procedures; in science how they perform presentations and experiments. In both areas possibilities to make distinctions on qualities in how the students understand the content handled are rather small. The most important finding of the study is: In order to make distinctions in relations to other persons’ ways of understanding something, this something must be kept invariant and acts of knowing must be allowed to vary in relation to the invariant object of knowing.
Göteborg University. Faculty of Education
Department of Education
Göteborg : Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis
theory of variation
Göteborg studies in educational sciences 168