Explicit Nature of Science and Argumentation Instruction in the Context of Socioscientific Issues: An effect on student learning and transfer

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Explicit Nature of Science and Argumentation Instruction in the Context of Socioscientific Issues: An effect on student learning and transfer
  This article was downloaded by: [American University of Beirut]On: 02 September 2013, At: 13:59Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK International Journal of ScienceEducation Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tsed20 Explicit Nature of Science andArgumentation Instruction in theContext of Socioscientific Issues: Aneffect on student learning and transfer Rola Khishfe aa  Department of Education, American University of Beirut, Beirut,11-0236, LebanonPublished online: 28 Aug 2013. To cite this article:  International Journal of Science Education (2013): Explicit Natureof Science and Argumentation Instruction in the Context of Socioscientific Issues: Aneffect on student learning and transfer, International Journal of Science Education, DOI:10.1080/09500693.2013.832004 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2013.832004 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. 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Terms &   Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   A  m  e  r   i  c  a  n   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   B  e   i  r  u   t   ]  a   t   1   3  :   5   9   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   3  Explicit Nature of Science andArgumentation Instruction in theContext of Socioscientific Issues: Aneffect on student learning and transfer Rola Khishfe ∗ Department of Education, American University of Beirut, Beirut 11-0236, Lebanon The purpose of the study was two-fold: to (a) investigate the influence of explicit nature of science(NOS) and explicit argumentation instruction in the context of a socioscientific issue on theargumentation skills and NOS understandings of students, and (b) explore the transfer of students’ NOS understandings and argumentation skills learned in one socioscientific contextinto other similar contexts (familiar and unfamiliar). Participants were a total of 121 seventhgrade students from two schools. The treatment involved an eight-week unit about the waterusage and safety, which was taught by two teachers for two intact groups (Treatments I and II).Explicit NOS instruction was integrated for all groups. However, only the Treatment I groupshad the additional explicit argumentation instruction. Participants were pre- and post-testedusing an open-ended questionnaire and interviews about two socioscientific issues to assess theirlearning and transfer of argumentation skills and NOS understandings. Results showedimprovements in the learning of argumentation practice and NOS understandings for TreatmentI group participants. Similarly, there were improvements in the learning and transfer of NOSunderstandings for Treatment II group participants with only some improvements for theargumentation practice. Further, some of the Treatment I group participants made connectionsto argumentation when explicating their NOS understandings by the end of the study. Findingswere discussed in light of classroom practice that utilizes an explicit approach, contextualapproach, as well as an approach that integrates NOS and argumentation simultaneously. Keywords:  Scientific literacy; Nature of science; Argumentation Introduction In aworld dominated by science and technology, it is crucial to raise studentswho arebothscientificallyandtechnologicallyliteratesothattheywouldnotbealienatedfrom International Journal of Science Education , 2013http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2013.832004 ∗ American University of Beirut, Beirut 11-0236, Lebanon. Email: rk19@aub.edu.lb # 2013 Taylor & Francis    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   A  m  e  r   i  c  a  n   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   B  e   i  r  u   t   ]  a   t   1   3  :   5   9   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   3  our modern society (BouJaoude, 2002). Helping students to understand nature of science (NOS) is a central component for achieving scientific literacy for all students(American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], 1989, 1993;Council of Ministers of Education Canada [CMEC] Pan-Canadian ScienceProject, 1997; Curriculum Council, 1998; Michaels, Shouse, & Schweingruber,2008; Millar & Osborne, 1998; National Research Council [NRC], 1996).This study attempted to investigate more ‘influential’ ways to promote the under-standings about NOS. In particular, the study examined the influence of explicitNOS instruction and explicit argumentation instruction on the understandings of NOS and the transfer of these understandings into similar contexts. Additionally,this study looked at how that influenced students’ argumentation practice. Below,we discuss and highlight the framework and rationale for this investigation. Nature of Science NOSdoesnothaveauniversallyagreedupondefinition,butitiscommonlydefinedasthe epistemology of science, science as a way of knowing, or the values and beliefsinherent to scientific knowledge and its development (Lederman, 1992). In view of that, there are some generally accepted characteristics of the scientific enterprise(Lederman, 2007) that are accessible and relevant to K-12 students’ everyday lives(Abd-El-Khalick, Bell, & Lederman, 1998). Three of these important aspects of NOSwerethetargetofthepresentstudy;thesetargetNOSaspectshavebeenempha-sized in reform science education documents (AAAS, 1989, 1993; NRC, 1996).Additionally,theyhavebeenunderlinedamongthepremisesinthepositionstatementfrom National Science Teachers Association (NSTA, 2000),and were also among theseven NOS aspects advanced by Abd-El-Khalick et al. (1998) as characterizing scien-tific knowledge (Lederman, 2007). These aspects include understanding that (a)scientific knowledge is tentative, where it is subject to change in light of new evidenceor reconceptualization of prior evidence and knowledge; (b) scientific knowledge isempirical (based on observations of the natural world), and (c) scientific knowledgeis subjective, where it is partly influenced by scientists’ background knowledge,experiences, and biases.Science educators have researched for over 50 years about learners’ views of NOSand the different ways to develop students’ views about NOS (Lederman, 1992).Abd-El-Khalick et al. (1998) recommended that NOS instruction should beplanned for and employed as a fundamental element of science teaching ratherthan an auxiliary learning product. According to Abd-El-Khalick et al. (1998),NOS needs to be explicitly taught to learners by deliberately focusing on variousaspects of NOS during classroom instruction, discussions, and questioning(Khishfe, 2002, 2006; McDonald, 2010). The effectiveness of an explicit approachon students’ understandings of NOS has been examined in several contexts: (a) his-torical (Klopfer & Cooley, 1963; Leach, Hind, & Ryder, 2003; Solomon, Duveen,Scott, & McCarthy, 1992), (b) inquiry (Carey, Evans, Honda, Jay, & Unger, 1989;Khishfe, 2002, 2008; Liu & Lederman, 2002), and recently (c) socioscientific2  R. Khishfe    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   A  m  e  r   i  c  a  n   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   B  e   i  r  u   t   ]  a   t   1   3  :   5   9   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   3  issues (Khishfe, 2006, 2012a; Walker & Zeidler, 2003), which are science-relatedsocial open-ended dilemmas (Sadler & Zeidler, 2005).Despite all focused efforts that utilize explicit NOS instructional approaches, thereis still limited success in improving the NOS views for all learners (Abd-El-Khalick &Akerson, 2004; Carey et al., 1989; Khishfe, 2002). At the same time, some emergingresearch in the field of argumentation has provided some evidence to suggest thatengaging learners in argumentation may aid in the development of more informedunderstandings of NOS (Bell & Linn, 2000; Ogunniyi, 2006; Yerrick, 2000). Infact, one of the arguments for the inclusion of NOS in school science curricula ident-ified the importance of NOS in helping people participate in argumentation anddecision-making regarding socioscientific issues (Driver, Leach, Millar, & Scott,1996). Argumentation Engaging students in the process of argumentation (Duschl & Osborne, 2002; Kuhn,1993), a key component of scientific literacy (NRC, 1996; Tytler, 2007), helps stu-dents to participate in debates and make informed decisions about personal andglobal issues. Although there has not been a precise definition in the literature forthe word ‘argument’ (McDonald, 2010), it is commonly defined as an assertion ora claim and its accompanying justification (Driver, Newton, & Osborne, 2000;Toulmin, 1958). Osborne (2010) explained that the elements of an argument thatsupport the claim may be subject to rebuttal or counterargumentation and that byitself requires the ability to compare, contrast, and distinguish different lines of reasoning. Through the cognitive process of comparison and contrast (Osborne,2010), argumentation would help students develop new understandings producedby the interaction between the old ideas that they hold and the new ones that theyencounter.Thus,givingstudentsachancetojustifytheirclaimsandgeneratecounter-argumentsandrebuttalswould help themconstructand reconstructtheir own knowl-edge (Berland & McNeill, 2010) as well as test new meanings. Jimenez-Aleixandre and Erduran (2008) discussed five different dimensions of argumentation as (1) construction of scientific knowledge, (2) development of com-municative competencies and critical thinking, (3) achievement of scientific literacywith a focus on talking and writing science, (4) enculturation into scientific culturein the sense of developing epistemic criteria, and (5) development of reasoning andrational criteria. In this research article, we adopted the fourth dimension thataddresses the relationship between students’ argumentation and their epistemology(particularly their NOS understandings). Research addressing argumentation inscience education has found that students generally have poor argumentation skills.For example, they tend to ignore data and warrants, jump to conclusions, and areunable to evaluate counter-evidence (Chinn & Brewer, 1998; Driver et al., 2000).In addition, teachers generally do not possess adequate skills to teach argumentationto their students (Newton, Driver, & Osborne, 1999) even with the many attempts Explicit Nature of Science and Argumentation  3    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   A  m  e  r   i  c  a  n   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   B  e   i  r  u   t   ]  a   t   1   3  :   5   9   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   3
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