Essay on Understanding Scientific Practices

1052 Words 5 Pages
Over two decades, many researchers (e.g., Lave & Wenger, 1991) have been interested in knowing and learning in terms of practices. Roth (1998) views practices as patterned activities that people participate to understand the world. Practices are viewed as ways of engaging with the social world to develop, share and maintain knowledge (Wenger, 1998). Practices as activities reify and build understandings of individuals who become a member of a community (Barab & Hay, 2001). However, practices can vary in different social contexts—school science and real (authentic) science. For example, while scientists can generate and use mathematical models in order to understand bats’ cardiovascular system in science-in-the-making process, science …show more content…
Lectures as cultural events are considered as a way of transferring science subject-matters (science content) to students, and then that content is supported through laboratory activities that require students to confirm their results in light of science content taught in the classroom (Gallagher & Tobin, 1987; Bowen, 2005). Although students are encouraged to participate in doing experiments and observations, they are asked to follow the instructions step by step where methods and variables are already established. This common approach has been known as ‘cookbook approach’ (Roth, 1995; Roth, 1998). Students are taught “normal science” (Kuhn, 1996) by doing activities through cookbook approach where they are supposed to verify knowledge via the structured laboratory investigations. They learn science concepts with the help of knowledge represented in their science textbook and their teacher’s experience and knowledge without understanding the role of presuppositions, contradictions, controversies, and speculations in scientific progress (Niaz, 2011). Driver et al. (2000) assert that viewing science in this standpoint stems from the positivist view of science that lacks uncertainty and emphasizes the authority of knowledge by ignoring the context of science as social practice (Lemke, 1990). That is to say, students learn

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