The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 583–614 | Cite as

Primary school science: implementation of domain-general strategies into teaching didactics

  • Peter J. N. Dejonckheere
  • Kristof Van de  Keere
  • Isabel Tallir
  • Stephanie Vervaet
Original Research


In the present study we present a didactic method to help children aged 11 and 12 learn science in such a way as to enable a dynamic interaction between domain general strategies and the development of conceptual knowledge, whilst each type of scientific process has been considered (forming of hypotheses, experimenting and evaluating). We have used the didactics to stimulate metacognitive awareness and implemented them in a 2-month programme around eight different content domains (alternative energy, electrical circuitry, electromagnetism, the human body, slopes, the pendulum, friction, and sinking and floating). Results showed that children developed significant understanding with regard to the process and strategy domain of scientific thinking, but that this effect was dependent on the type of teacher involved (pre-service versus in-service teacher). In addition, we found that 12 year-olds showed some aspects of self-regulated learning in hands-on experimenting after they took part in the programme. At the level of attitudes, relative to controls, a significant drop in enthusiasm for science was found while both children of 11 and 12 years old viewed science as less difficult after the end of the programme. Findings were interpreted in the light of situated interest versus longer term personal interest in science and technology.


Primary science Metacognition Direct instruction Scientific thinking Attitudes 


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. N. Dejonckheere
    • 1
  • Kristof Van de  Keere
    • 1
  • Isabel Tallir
    • 1
  • Stephanie Vervaet
    • 1
  1. 1.University College of VivesTieltBelgium

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