Student teachers' conceptualisations of 's̀ignificant' animals

Murtough, Neil (1997) Student teachers' conceptualisations of 's̀ignificant' animals. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Constructivist approaches to teaching and learning are a well established component of the landscape of educational research, especially in Science education. This research t~Qk~as its starting point the limited amount of social constructivist research available in the field of Environmental Education and responded to calls for further research. The research was designed within an interpretive tradition, as a cri-tically phenomenological enquiry employing two methods; single case studies and a focus group. Data collection used progressively focused interview questions to proceed through a series of individual interview stages, starting with a simple description of conceptualisations and moving to deeper analysis of influences on, and use of conceptualisations. The focus group was designed as a forum to explore the pedagogic issues connected to the 'social negotiation of learning', based on data and insights gained from earlier interview stages. The goals of the study were to record data on the conceptualisa t;.ions of animals perceived as significant by a group of Tsonga speaking students, and to seek insights into the formative influences on those conceptualisations. The research question, namely what contribution can social constructivist approaches to teaching and learning make to Environmental Education? guided an interpretation of the above data in terms of a range of social constructivist theories of learning. Theories of Radical and Social Constructivism as applied in Science education, although dominant orientations for educational research in constructivist learning, were challenged and found inappropriate as a basis to inform methodologies for Environmental Education. Instead Lave's (cited in O'Loughlin, 1992) socio-cultural approach to learning was explored as the basis to create a more useful perspective on an environmental edutation situation Finally it was concluded that Lave's socio-cultural approach to learning may be a useful guide to helping a teacher- eli'Cit the full range of conceptualisations present in an environmental education situation, but is not ultimately effective if no challenge and change comes about. Consequently, a socially critical constructivist teaching and learning approach was suggested In conclusion I commented on the interpretive research methodology e~loyed and suggested an example of a socially critical methodology that could take this investigation further.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental education, South Africa, Teacher training, Folklore, Zoology
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Janse van Rensburg, Eureta
ID Code:3158
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:25 Jul 2012 13:38
Last Modified:25 Jul 2012 13:38
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