Using design-based research to analyse the development of an inquiry-based approach for teaching direct current electricity to pre-service teachers

Edwards, Nazeem (2016-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This study uses a design-based research (DBR) approach to develop pre-service science teachers’ (PSSTs) conceptual understanding in the domain of direct current electricity. A preliminary study was conducted with a group (n=51) of PSSTs in 2010 to examine the literature, outline conceptual trajectories for the activities and assessments, and to investigate various pedagogical strategies. This was followed by a transformative conjecture-driven teaching experiment that was conducted with three cohorts of PSSTs from 2011 to 2013. The three cycles of the teaching experiment consisted of four phases each that were followed by a retrospective analysis of all the data to place it in a theoretical framework. The conjecture was advanced that an inquiry-based science teaching strategy within a social constructivist learning environment will promote the development of PSSTs conceptual understanding in the domain. Various pedagogical strategies such as science investigations, modelling, argumentation and problem-solving were adopted to help achieve this goal. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using student assessment records and transcriptions of video data which were analysed as evidence of their conceptual understanding. The findings show that an inquiry-based science teaching approach can help to foster a better conceptual understanding of direct current electricity with varying degrees of success. The development of the students’ multimodal translation skills are reasonably developed, but most lack the ability to interpret data and draw adequate conclusions. Most of the students are able to construct a physical model as evidence using principles of electricity, but not many produce appropriate arguments to explain their model. Quantitative and qualitative problem-solving is an area where the students performed poorly, except for the 2013 cohort. The findings support previous studies in the domain that students have a poor understanding of direct current and potential difference, especially as far as parallel combinations are concerned. Another important design principle to emerge is that inquiry-based science teaching strategies are not effective all the time. In such instances there is a need to complement it with traditional expository teaching strategies to develop the student’s conceptual understanding of direct current electricity. The study concludes with the theories of domain-specific learning and the means to support that learning.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie maak gebruik van ‘n ontwerpgebaseerdenavorsing benadering om voordienswetenkaponderwysers se konseptuele begrip in die domein van direkte stroomelektrisiteit te ontwikkel. ‘n Voorlopige studie was met ‘n groep (n-51) voordienswetenkaponderwysers in 2010 aangevoer om die literatuur te ondersoek, ‘n konseptuele trajek vir die aktiwiteite en assesserings te skets, en om verskillende pedagogiese strategieë te ondersoek. Dit was opgevolg met ‘n transformerende vermoedegedrewe onderwyseksperiment wat met drie kohorte van voordienswetenkaponderwysers vanaf 2011 tot 2013 aangevoer was. Die drie siklusse van die onderwyseksperiment het uit vier fases elk bestaan wat deur ‘n terugwerkende analise van al die data, om dit in ‘n teoretiese raamwerk te plaas, opgevolg was. Die vermoede was bevorder dat ‘n ondersoekgedrewe wetenskap onderrigstrategie binne ‘n sosiaal konstruktivistiese leeromgewing die ontwikkeling van voordienswetenkaponderwysers se konseptuele begrip in die domein sal aanmoedig. Verskillende pedagogiese strategieë soos wetenskapondersoeke, modelle, argumentasie en probleemoplossing was aangeneem om te help om hierdie doel te verwesenlik. Kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe data was versamel deur studente assesseringsrekords en transkripsies van videodata, as bewyse van hulle konsonseptuele begrip, te analiseer. Die bevindings wys dat ‘n ondersoekgedrewe wetenskap onderrigbenadering kan help om ‘n beter konseptuele begrip van direkte stroomelektrisiteit, met ‘n wisselende mate van sukses, te bevorder. Die ontwikkeling van die studente se multimodale translasie vaardighede is redelik ontwikkel, maar die meeste kort die vermoë om data te interpreteer en om voldoende gevolgtrekkings te maak. Die meeste studente kan ‘n fisiese model konstruktueer as bewyse deur beginsels van elektrisiteit te gebruik, maar nie baie lewer toepaslike argumente om hulle model te verduidelik nie. Kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe probleemoplossing is ‘n area waar die studente sleg gevaar het, behalwe die 2013 kohort. Die bevindings ondersteun vorige studies in die domein dat studente ‘n slegte begrip van direkte stroom en potensiaalverskil het, vernaamlik sover dit parallel kombinasies aangaan. Nog ‘n belangrike ontwerpbeginsel wat na vore kom is dat ondersoekgedrewe wetenskap onderrigstrategieë nie altyd effektief is nie. In sulke gevalle is daar ‘n behoefte om dit aan te vul met traditionele verduidelikende onderrigstrategieë om die student se konseptuele begrip van direkte stroomelektrisiteit te ontwikkel. Die studie sluit af met die teorië van domeinspesifiekeleer en die wyse om die leer te ondersteun.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98755
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