Matej Urbančič (2012) Interdisciplinarity across subjects and the understanding of science. PhD thesis.
Knowledge, along with the understanding of natural concepts and phenomena, is generated in the classroom through both student participation and appropriate communication between students and the teacher. The teacher's task is to pass on the knowledge about the natural world in an interdisciplinary way and adapt it to the level of his/her students. The evaluation study The Impact of Knowledge Evaluation on Knowledge Quality and Students' Interest in Natural Sciences suggests that the integration of natural science concepts in the science curriculum and their interdisciplinary are not entirely without problems. A related case study specifically pointed to problems connected with target-oriented activities, and highlighted the lack of integration between the physical, chemical and biological concepts as students learn about these in different school subjects. As a result, students find it difficult to create meaningful links between different concepts, thus failing to consolidate their knowledge. The doctoral research draws on the above-mentioned findings as well as on an analysis of the natural science curriculum and course books for the 7th form. On this basis it proposes a teaching model for teaching about the sea and its ecosystem. The sea was chosen as the central topic for its unique biotope features which enable clear presentation of the connections between living conditions and organisms. The model which examines physical (temperature, light), chemical (water, salinity) and biological (organisms) factors was further amplified and evaluated through action-based research. Monitoring and changing teaching methods was meant to highlight the ways in which the model could be adapted to a real-life situation in which it would consider the input of the teacher and students in the classroom, and guide students towards developing knowledge through understanding. During the later stages of the research, participating teachers were introduced to an amended teaching model. To allow the model to be examined for its efficacy, students taught by these teachers were included in the experimental group. After instruction, which was based on the model, students' knowledge was examined in a test, which was adapted to the level of knowledge prescribed in the 7th form curriculum. The same test was attempted by students from a comparison group who had not been taught about the sea and its ecosystems according to the model. The two samples were equal in terms of school size and school environment. The knowledge of both groups was re-tested after three months. Statistical analysis confirmed that the experimental group students, as opposed to the comparison group, achieved statistically significant better results both when they were tested and re-tested for their knowledge of natural sciences, as well as for their knowledge of the links between organisms and environmental factors. These findings suggest that while individual tasks show no statistically significant differences, the latter are evident from the students' overall success in the test and re-test.
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD thesis)|
|Keywords:||natural science, action-based research, learning, teaching. understanding|
|Number of Pages:||188|
|Language of Content:||Slovenian|
|Mentor / Comentors:|
|Link to COBISS:||http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=9184841)|
|Institution:||University of Ljubljana|
|Department:||Faculty of Education|
|Date Deposited:||13 Apr 2012 07:48|
|Last Modified:||17 Apr 2012 11:36|
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