Learning Environments Research

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 267–283 | Cite as

Cultivating constructivist science internships for high school students through a community of practice with cogenerative dialogues

  • Pei-Ling Hsu
  • Penelope Espinoza
Original Paper


Working with scientists has been suggested as an effective way for high-school students to learn authentic science. However, little research has involved students’ perceptions of science learning environments in a university internship. This study drew on the theoretical framework of community of practice with cogenerative dialogues to design an internship program that aims to build a constructivist internship for students. Students who learned science in the internship program developed stronger constructivist learning perceptions than those who learned science in school. Specifically, students perceived that they had more opportunities to think independently of the instructors and other students. Three effective principles for program design are: (a) high school students conduct open-inquiry projects with the support of scientists; (b) high school students and scientists conduct cogenerative dialogues regularly to address issues and share experiences; and (c) high school students present their project proposals and scientific findings at open house events. Implications of the results are discussed.


Cogenerative dialogues Community of practice Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES) Student–scientist partnership 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1322600. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education, College of EducationUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations, College of EducationUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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