Advertisement

Using Argumentation to Investigate Science Teachers' Teaching Practices: The Perspective of Instructional Decisions and Justifications

  • Sung-Tao Lee
  • Huann-Shyang LinEmail author
Article

Abstract

Adopting the concept that “decisions can be seen as argument-driven actions,” the purpose of this study was to apply the argumentation structure raised by Stephen Toulmin (1958) to capture two science teachers' instructional decision-making mechanisms in their teaching practices. The two case teachers were chosen because of their close estimations of their students' achievement outcomes and both were in their transition stages from competent teachers to proficient ones. A science teaching observation coding schedule (STOCS) was designed to be used in classroom observations, and all these quantitative data were collected to be converted into four issues for the two teachers to justify their ways of teaching. A semi-structure interview was conducted to analyze why and how these two case teachers made their instructional decisions. The results indicate that although they knew that their students could not fully understand what they taught in the class, their teaching strategies were still teacher-dominated modes. What really influenced their instructional decisions included external context factors (e.g., examination pressure, subject contents, limited time and classroom management) and internal experiential factors (e.g., personal educated experiences, beliefs and understandings of constructivism and inquiry). Finally, the authors suggest that science teachers' instructional decision making mechanisms can be appropriately represented by case teachers' argumentations structure.

Keywords

argumentation naturalistic decision making (NDM) pedagogical decisions teacher decision making 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abrams, E. (1998). Talking and doing science: Important elements in a teaching-for-understanding approach. In J.J. Mintzes, J.H. Wandersee & J.D. Novak (Eds.), Teaching science for understanding: A human constructivist view. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  2. Aikenhead, G. (1984). Teacher decision-making: The case of Prairie High. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 21, 167–186. Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, R.D. (2002). Reforming science teaching: What research says about inquiry. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13(1), 1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, R.D. & Helms, J.V. (2001). The ideal of standards and the reality of schools: Needed research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(1), 3–16. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berliner, D.C. (1988, February). The development of expertise in pedagogy. Paper presented at the meeting of American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, New Orleans, LA. Google Scholar
  6. Börger, H. & Tillema, H. (1993). Transferring knowledge to classroom teaching: Putting knowledge into action. In C. Day, J. Calderhead & P. Denicolo (Eds.), Research on teacher thinking: Understanding professional development (pp. 185–197). The Falmer Press. Google Scholar
  7. Bryan, L.A. (2003). Nestedness of beliefs: Examining a prospective elementary teacher's belief system about science teaching and learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(9), 835–868. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bullough, R.V. (1992). Beginning teacher curriculum decision making, personal teaching metaphors, and teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 8(3), 239–252. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bybee, R.W. (1993). Reforming science education: Social perspectives and personal reflections. Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Google Scholar
  10. Cartier, J.L. & Stewart, J. (2000). Teaching the nature of inquiry: Further developments in a high school genetics curriculum. Science and Education, 9, 247–267. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark, C.M. & Peterson, P.L. (1986). Teachers' thought processes. In M.C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 255–296). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2001). Research methods in education. London: Routledge–Falmer. Google Scholar
  13. Driver, R., Newton, P. & Osborne, J. (2000). Establishing the norms of scientific argumentation in classrooms. Science Education, 84, 287–312. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Duffee, L. & Aikenhead, G. (1992). Curriculum change, student evaluation, and teacher practical knowledge. Science Teacher Education, 76(5), 493–506. Google Scholar
  15. Duschl, R.A. & Wright, E. (1989). A case study of high school teachers' decision-making model for planning and teaching science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26(6), 467–501. Google Scholar
  16. Gunstone, R.F. & Champagne, A.B. (1990). Promoting conceptual change in the laboratory. In E. Hegarty-Hazel (Ed.), The student laboratory and the science curriculum. London: Routledge. Google Scholar
  17. Hart, C., Mulhall, P., Berry, A., Loughran, J. & Gunstone, R. (2000). What is the purpose of this experiment? Or can students learn something from doing experiments? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(7), 655–675. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hegarty, S. (2000). Teaching as a knowledge-based activity. Oxford Review of Education, 26(3–4), 451–465. Google Scholar
  19. Jiménez-Aleixandre, M.P. & Pereiro-Muňoz, C. (2002). Knowledge producers or knowledge consumers? Argumentation and decision making about environmental management. International Journal of Science Education, 24(11), 1171–1190. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kagan, D.K. & Tippins, D.J. (1991). How teachers' classroom cases express their pedagogical beliefs. Journal of Teacher Education, 42(4), 281–291. Google Scholar
  21. King, K., Shumow, L. & Lietz, S. (2001). Science education in an urban elementary school: Case studies of teacher beliefs and classroom practices. Science Education, 85, 89–110. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kuhn, D. (1992). Thinking as argument. Harvard Educational Review, 62(2), 155–178. Google Scholar
  23. Lazarowitz, R. & Tamir, P. (1994). Research on using laboratory instruction in science. In D.L. Gabel (Ed.), Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp. 94–128). New York: Macmillan. Google Scholar
  24. Lee, S.T. & Lin, H.S. (2003, January). The gap between students' achievement outcomes and teachers' expectations in the learning of stoichiometry. Paper presented at the Third International Conference on Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, East London, South Africa. Google Scholar
  25. Levitt, K.E. (2001). An analysis of elementary teachers' beliefs regarding the teaching and learning of science. Science Education, 86(1), 1–22. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lipshitz, R. (1993). Decision making as argument-driven action. In G.A. Klein, J. Orasanu, R. Calderwood & C.E. Zsambok (Eds.), Decision making in action: Models and methods. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Google Scholar
  27. Lumpe, A.T., Haney, J.J. & Czerniak, C.M. (1998). Science teacher beliefs and intentions to implement Science-Technology-Society (STS) in the classroom. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 9(1), 1–24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lunetta, V.N. (1998). The school science laboratory: Historical perspectives and contexts for contemporary teaching. In B. Fraser & K. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook for science education. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Google Scholar
  29. Lyons, L.L., Freitag, P.K. & Hewson, P.W. (1997). Dichotomy in thinking, dilemma in actions: Researcher and teacher perspectives on a chemistry teaching practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(3), 239–254. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McGinnis, J.R. & Yeany, R.H. (1993). Science teacher decision-making in classrooms with cultural diversity: A case study analysis. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Atlanta, Georgia. Google Scholar
  31. Mintzes, J.J. & Wandersee, J.H. (1998). Research in science teaching and learning: A human constructivist view. In J.J. Mintzes, J.H. Wandersee & J.D. Novak (Eds.), Teaching science for understanding: A human constructivist view. Academic Press. Google Scholar
  32. National Research Council (1996). The national science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Google Scholar
  33. Newton, P., Driver, R. & Osborne, J. (1999). The place of argumentation in the pedagogy of school science. International Journal of Science Education, 21(5), 553–576. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nussbaum, E.M. (2002). Scaffolding argumentation in the social studies classroom. The Social Studies, March/April, 79–83. Google Scholar
  35. O'Loughlin, M. (1990, April). Evolving beliefs about teaching and learning: The view from Hofstra University: A perspective on teachers' beliefs and their effects. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston. Google Scholar
  36. Olson, J. (1982). Innovation in the science curriculum. New York: Nichols Publishing Company. Google Scholar
  37. Orasanu, J. & Connolly, T. (1993). The reinvention of decision making. In G.A. Klein, J. Orasanu, R. Calderwood & C.E. Zsambok (Eds.), Decision making in action: Models and methods. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Google Scholar
  38. Osmo, R. & Landau, R. (2001). The need for explicit argumentation in ethical decision making in social work. Social Work Education, 20(4), 483–492. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perkins, D. (1999). The many faces of constructivism. Educational Leadership, 57(3), 6–11. Google Scholar
  40. Phillips, D.C. (1995). The good, the bad, and the ugly: The many faces of constructivism. Educational Researcher, 24(7), 5–12. Google Scholar
  41. Renner, J.W., Abraham, M.R. & Birnie, H.H. (1985). Secondary school students' beliefs about the physics laboratory. Science Education, 69, 649–663. Google Scholar
  42. Schoenfeld, A.H. (1998). Toward a theory of teaching-in-context. Issues in Education, 4(1), 1–94. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shavelson, R.J. (1973). The basic teaching skill: Decision making (R & D Memorandum No.104). Stanford, CA: Stanford University, School of Education, Center for R & D in Teaching. Google Scholar
  44. Shavelson, R.J. (1983). Review of research on teachers' pedagogical judgments, plans and decisions. Elementary School Journal, 83(4), 392–413. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sternberg, R.J. (1996). Cognitive psychology. Harcourt Brace College Publishers. Google Scholar
  46. Stuart, C. & Thurlow, C. (2000). Making it on their own: Preservice teachers' experiences, beliefs, and classroom practices. Journal of Teacher Education, 51, 113–121. Google Scholar
  47. Texley, J. & Wild, A. (Eds.). (1996). Pathways to the science standards: Guidelines for moving the vision into practice. Arlington: National Science Teachers Association. Google Scholar
  48. Tobin, K. (1993). The practice of constructivism in science education. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Google Scholar
  49. Tobin, K. & McRobbie, C.J. (1996). Cultural myths as constraints to the enacted science curriculum. Science Education, 80, 223–241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tobin, K., Tippins, D.J. & Gallard, A.J. (1994). Research on instructional strategies for teaching science. In D.L. Gabel (Ed.), Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp. 45–93). New York: Macmillan. Google Scholar
  51. Toulmin, S. (1958). The uses of argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
  52. Wallace, C.S. & Kang, N.H. (2004). An investigation of experienced secondary science teachers' beliefs about inquiry: An examination of competing belief sets. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(9), 936–960. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Westerman, D.A. (1991). Teacher decision making by experts and novices across three stages: Preactive, interactive, and postactive. Arlington, Virginia: Marymount University (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED330658). Google Scholar
  54. Yinger, R. & Hendricks-Lee, M. (1993). Working knowledge in teaching. In C. Day, J. Calderhead & P. Denicolo (Eds.), Research on teacher thinking: Understanding professional development (pp. 100–123). The Falmer Press. Google Scholar
  55. Zembal-Saul, C., Munford, D. & Crawford, B. (2002). Scaffolding preservice science teacher's evidence-based arguments during an investigation of natural selection. Research in Science Education, 32, 437–463. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zohar, A. & Nemet, F. (2002). Fostering students' knowledge and argumentation skills through dilemmas in human genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(1), 35–62. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Science EducationNational Kaohsiung Normal UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan, Republic of China
  2. 2.National Hualien University of EducationHualienTaiwan, Republic of China

Personalised recommendations