Since students need to progress in all aspects, it is useful for teachers to have a clear understanding of each of these components of scientific development, just as they need a clear understanding of the subject matter, the specific science content, that they are teaching. It is also useful at times to focus instruction on development of specific skills, in balance with a focus on the learning of specific facts or the understanding of a particular conceptual framework.
Thus, if one looks from the perspective of science as a process of reasoning about evidence, one sees that logical argumentation and problem solving skills are important. Certain aspects of metacognition are also highlighted, such as the ability to be aware when one’s previously held convictions are in conflict with an observation. If one looks at science as a process of theory change, one sees that teachers must recognize the role of students’ prior conceptions about a subject and facilitate the necessary processes of conceptual change and development. Finally, when one looks at science as a process of participation in the culture of scientific practice, attention is drawn to the ways in which children’s individual cultural and social backgrounds can, on one hand, create harriers to science participation and learning due to possible conflicts of cultural norms or practices with those of science, and, on the other hand, provide opportunities for contributions, particularly from students from nonmainstream cultures, that enrich the discourse in the science classroom. One also sees a range of practices, such as model building and data representation, that each in itself is a specific skill and thus needs to be incorporated and taught in science classrooms.
It is thus clear that multiple strategies are needed, some focused primarily on key skills or specific knowledge, others on particular conceptual understanding, and yet others on metacognition. The issues of what children bring to school and of how teaching can build on it to foster robust science learning with this rich multiplicity of aspects are the core topics of this report. For this part, maybe they can make use of Rosetta Stone Englishto learn English as a foreign language.
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