27 SES 06 A, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
The backdrop for this paper is the large number of studies on students’ interest in science (e.g. Osborne, Simon, & Collins, 2003; Tytler, Osborne, Williams, Tytler, & Cripps Clark, 2008). Most of these studies are based on secondary reports from students about their experiences of science and science education. The studies are typically using psychologically oriented cognitivist constructs and methodologies. There is thus a need to study also more directly how interest for science is constituted through classroom interactions. The aim of this article is to develop such a methodology, which would make it possible to empirically examine the consequences of various types of classroom interactions for the development of such an interest.
To reach this aim we here use the concept taste as an operational proxy for the more psychologically oriented term interest. This choice is not arbitrary, but made for a number of empirically oriented reasons. First, the term taste designates observable action; people’s taste becomes visible from what they say and what they choose to do. Second, taste does not designate only an affective state of mind, but covers both cognition and values. In this way the concept of taste makes it possible to study how the teaching and learning of the conceptual content of science and the learning of norms and values are made continuous. Third, taste is not a static condition, but something which needs to be constantly construed as part of situated activity.
Our approach to a large extent is based on pragmatically oriented research on aesthetics and taste (Wickman, 2006). Also Pierre Bourdieu has been influential. In his book Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Bourdieu (1984) demonstrates that taste is constituted through people’s upbringings and education. A taste for classical music, for example, is not simply a state of interest, but results from continuously learning cognitively as well as normatively as part of social settings. Hence, as situated socially, a taste for classical music does not mean merely reporting that you are interested in classical music, but entails that you can engage in and take part in classical music communications by making certain linguistic and actional distinctions. Bourdieu’s findings regarding taste should also be relevant for what is usually termed an interest in science.
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: a social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049 - 1079. Tytler, R., Osborne, J., Williams, G., Tytler, K., & Cripps Clark, J. (2008). Opening up pathways: Engagement in STEM across the Primary-Secondary school transition. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Wickman, P.-O. (2006). Aesthetic experience in science education : learning and meaning-making as situated talk and action: Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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