Visualising Epistemic Processes and Products of Science in Pre-Service Teacher Education

A School of Education Seminar hosted by the Learning Sciences Research Institute, presented by Professor Sibel Erduran, Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford.

Epistemic aspects of science are relatively underemphasised in science teaching and learning. Epistemic aspects of science may include the processes and products of science that concern the development of scientific knowledge. For example, scientists engage in modelling practices in formulating scientific knowledge. Scientists may use epistemic criteria such as objectivity in interpreting data. Epistemic aspects of science demand teachers and students to adopt a meta-perspective on how science works as a knowledge construction enterprise. As such, epistemic processes and products of science can be difficult to understand.

In this presentation, I draw on our work on nature of science (NOS) that capitalises on the use of visual representations to facilitate the understanding of epistemic aspects of science. Based on reviews of literature from philosophy of science, we produced a series of images that summarise some key features of the epistemic aspects of science. For example, we proposed the “Benzene Ring Heuristic” (BRH) inspired from the benzene ring structure as an analogy to highlight the dynamic nature of the epistemic, cognitive and social components of scientific practices. BRH stresses the social mediation of data, models and explanations through argumentation and social certification.

In this presentation, I will illustrate how we have used these visual representations in a pre-service science teacher education programme, and what impact they had on pre-service teachers’ own visual representations of epistemic aspects of science.

Sibel Erduran is a Professor of Science Education at University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College. She also holds a Visiting Professorship position at Zhejiang Normal University, China. She is an Editor for International Journal of Science Education, Section Editor for Science Education, andserves on the Executive Board of European Science Education Research Association. Her work experience includes positions in the USA (University of Pittsburgh), Ireland (University of Limerick) as well as other universities in the UK (King’s College London and University of Bristol). Previously she held Visiting Professorships at Oxford Brookes University, National Taiwan Normal University, Kristianstad University, Sweden, and Bogazici University, Turkey. Her higher education was completed in the USA at Vanderbilt (PhD, Science Education & Philosophy), Cornell (MSc, Food chemistry and Chemistry) and Northwestern (BA, Biochemistry) Universities. She has worked as a chemistry teacher in a high school in northern Cyprus.

Sibel Erduran’s research interests focus on the infusion of epistemic practices of science in science education, in particular chemistry education. Her work has received international recognition through awards from NARST and EASE. She is currently the Principal Investigator of projects funded by the Wellcome Trust and Templeton World Charity Foundation. Her edited book on Argumentation in Chemistry Education: Research, Policiy and Practice (Royal Society of Chemistry) and co-authored book on Transforming Teacher Education through the Epistemic Core of Chemistry: Empirical Evidence and Practical Strategies (Springer) are published in 2019.

This seminar will take place on Tuesday 26th February, 16.00-17.30, B33, Dearing Building, Jubilee Campus.

For more informaiton, and to book your place, please visit the event page.

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