Shadows, Masks and the Illusion of Learning

by Horner, Valerie Joy

Abstract (Summary)
In this investigation, the researcher explored the construction of conceptual knowledge within the discipline of science through a review of related theory and research.

Following a review of literature that emphasizes the theory of social constructivism as well as critical pedagogy as significant to learning; and utilizing a working definition of the six strands of language as established by Saskatchewan Education; the researcher observed and interviewed three Grade Five students and their teacher throughout their involvement in a science unit.

In-class observations of the strands of language as well as the information from the interview transcripts were triangulated with the literature to provide validity for the theory and support the researchers implications for an inquiry model of teaching and learning.

Findings suggest an absence of explicit language being modeled and expected within the course of study as well as the absence of a framework of science concepts. Disconnections and fragmentations throughout various levels of pedagogy within curriculum, resources, strategies and activities were revealed. The unintentional illusion of a rich learning experience was created through collaborative, hands-on activities, demonstrations and modeling by the teacher, fluency and accuracy in reading as well as the correct completion of activities. In reality these acts merely masked the absence of deeper transformational experiences which are required for students to build the conceptual knowledge and linguistic competence needed for academic success.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Wason-Ellam, Linda

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:social constructivism science vygotsky language elementary transformational cultural capital critical pedagogy grade five inquiry concepts dialogic discourse


Date of Publication:04/25/2007

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