Developing and evaluating research-informed instruction about energy in Cyprus high schools.

ORFANIDOU, Dora. (2014). Developing and evaluating research-informed instruction about energy in Cyprus high schools. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

There is an extensive academic literature documenting students' pre-instructional interpretations of phenomena and events, showing that these interpretations are not consistent with 'energy' as used in physics. Furthermore, there is evidence showing that teaching does not always result in students' interpretations becoming consistent with teaching. This evidence has been collected across many decades and in many countries. This thesis presents a theoretical rationale for the design, implementation and evaluation of a teaching sequence aiming to promote conceptual understanding of the concept of energy to 15-16 years old physics students in Cyprus. Students' pre-instructional ideas about energy were investigated and were found to be consistent with those reported in the international literature. A design study was conducted with the aim of improving students' conceptual understanding compared to that might be expected from physics teaching usually conducted in Cyprus. Among the perspectives and the methods critically reviewed to inform the design, the perspective set out by Leach and Scott (2002) drawing on the concept of Learning Demand was chosen. Furthermore, the energy ideas proposed within the SPT11-14 project (2006) were used as a basis for the development of the theoretical framework of the teaching sequence.The research questions for the study were as follows: RQ1. What concepts of energy are used by a Cypriot cohort of upper high school students prior to teaching? RQ2. How do the conceptions and learning of the sub-cohort of Cypriot students taught through the research-informed approach compare with those following 'normal teaching' after instruction? RQ3. How do the understandings of the energy concept, of a small sub-group of students, develop during the lessons of the research-informed approach? The study involved thirty six Cypriot students in two classes of an urban upper secondary school. One of the classes acted as an intervention group, receiving the 'new' teaching sequence whilst the comparison group followed normal teaching. For addressing RQ1, data were collected through a pre-test administered to all participant students. Pre-test data and data collected through a post-test also administered to all participant students were used to test the comparative effectiveness of the teaching, thereby addressing RQ2. To address RQ3, data collected from a small number of experimental students through pre and post-test, two short-length diagnostic probes, two interviews and through an interview conducted with the experimental teacher were used.Analysis of data allowed for the following answers to each research question: RQ1: The students' pre-instructional views about the concept of energy were not within the current scientific beliefs; rather, these were within an alternative context. They were consistent with findings reported internationally in the literature. RQ2: The students' understandings of the concept of energy taught through the research-informed approach were significantly higher after instruction compared with those following 'normal teaching'. RQ3: The students' understandings of the concept of energy through the lessons of the research-informed approach were developed in a manner consistent with the intended aims of the teaching.The answers to the three research questions strongly suggest that the proposed teaching sequence for energy was found to be effective.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2014.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 26 May 2018 20:12
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20150

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