Publications & Conference Presentations
For some of publications and conference presentations listed below, only the abstracts are included. For more information on those publications and conference presentations, please contact the author.
Cormier, M., & Rivard, L. P. (2008). Colloque 611 : Enseignement des sciences en milieu francophone minoritaire, hier et aujourd’hui: quels espoirs pour demain? Enseignement des sciences en milieu minoritaire : un modèle pédagogique culturel et langagier. Congrès annuel de l’ACFAS tenu à Québec les 6 et 7 mai. (Conference Paper)
Kajander, A. & Lovric, M. (2008). Textbooks in mathematics learning: The potential for misconceptions. Delta-K 45(2), 18-20.
Abstract: Textbooks continue to dominate classroom learning and teaching at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary undergraduate levels in mathematics. As textbook authors ourselves, we have begun to study the content of texts at the secondary and post-secondary levels, with the goal of analyzing the quality of mathematical exposition. In doing so, a large number of sources of potential student misconceptions have become apparent to us. In this article we summarize and categorize these areas of potential misconception, for audiences of both teachers and future book reviewers and publishers.
Kajander, A. (2007). Unpacking mathematics for teaching: A studyof preservice elementary teachers' evolving mathematical understandings and beliefs. Journal of Teaching and Learning. 5(1), 33-54.
Abstract: This study examined the mathematical understandings and beliefs held by preservice elementary teachers in a mathematics methods course taken as part of a one year teacher certification program, and re-examined these characteristics at the end of the course. The notion of ‘understanding mathematics for teaching’ was examined in a way that might begin to support the work of mathematics educators working with such preservice teacher candidates. Preservice teacher beliefs about what is important in mathematics learning and therefore the teaching of it are examined along with mathematics understanding at both procedural and conceptual levels. The goal is to shed some light on how initial understanding and beliefs about mathematics teaching co-exist, and how these might develop during a preservice teacher education program. A preliminary model designed to promote participant self-reflection is suggested.
Kajander, A. & Mason, R. (2007). Examining teacher growth in Professional learning groups for in-service teachers of mathematics. Canadian Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. 7(4), 417-438.
Abstract: Teachers may face important challenges when encouraged to improve their mathematics teaching. Their personal beliefs, knowledge, confidence and personal intentions towards growth and change are all complex factors which may influence teachers’ capacity, and their decisions about personal change in their teaching. In this study, intermediate teachers and the conversations that took place during their monthly Professional Learning Group meetings over a one-year period were examined in order to better understand issues teachers face in their growth and development as teachers of mathematics. We critically examine the notion and meaning of success to different stakeholders
Kajander, A. & Zuke, C. (2008). Listening for their voices: A study of intermediate students at-risk in mathematics. Delta-K, 45(2), 21-24.
Abstract: Intermediate (grade seven to nine) students at-risk in mathematics were studied using an intensive case study approach, as well as by surveying teachers more broadly. Findings consistently showed that students tended to be unmotivated, hesitant to ask the teacher questions, and generally disengaged from the largely traditional environments which they were experiencing. Teachers surveyed reported using traditional methods and giving extra individual help when working with students at-risk. The results of the study may indicate that professional development would be helpful to support teachers’ work.
Kajander, A., Zuke, C. & Walton, G. (in press). Teaching unheard voices: Students at risk in mathematics. Canadian Journal of Education, 31(4).
Abstract: To examine the mathematics classroom experiences of students considered to be “at-risk,” we conducted case studies of four students in grades 7, 8, and 9 in Northwestern Ontario. The case studies revealed that their mathematics classes offered few opportunities for active, engaging learning or activities that the students experienced as being relevant. Their teachers, who generally used traditional practices, seemed reluctant or unable to adopt reform-based teaching methodologies. Based on the diversity of the observed students’ characteristics and learning needs, and the challenges these impose on classroom dynamics, we suggest earlier intervention for at-risk students as well as more substantial professional development for teachers.
Poster Presentation Paper for the Psychology of Mathematics Education Conference, Merida, Mexico, November 2006 by Dr. Ann Kajander
Klassen, S. (2006). A Theoretical Framework for Contextual Science Teaching. Interchange, 37(1–2), 31–62.
Abstract: The contextual approach to teaching is generally recognized as a reasonable and desirable strategy to enhance student learning in science. Using several cognitive and learning theories together with various philosophical considerations, I identify five distinct contexts that are important in engaging learners: the theoretical, practical, social, historical, and affective. Based on these five contexts, I construct a model for teaching and learning, named the Story-Driven Contextual Approach (SDCA), in which the story assumes a major role in engaging the learner affectively. The teacher introduces the SDCA to students by means of a story, encouraging students to engage actively with the five contexts. In the SDCA, students function as novice researchers and the teacher as a research director.
Klassen, S. (2006). Contextual Assessment in Science Education: Background, Issues, and Policy. Science Education, 90(5), 820–851.
Abstract: Contemporary assessment practices in science education have undergone significant changes in recent decades. The basis for these changes and the resulting new assessment practices are the subject of this two-part paper. Part One considers the basis of assessment that, more than twenty-five years ago, was driven by the assumptions of decomposability and decontextualization of knowledge, resulting in a low-inference testing system, often described as “traditional”. This assessment model was replaced not on account of direct criticism, but rather on account of a larger revolution—the change from behavioral to cognitive psychology, developments in the philosophy of science, and the rise of constructivism. Most notably, the study of the active cognitive processes of the individual resulted in a major emphasis on context in learning and assessment. These changes gave rise to the development of various contextual assessment methodologies in science education, for example, concept mapping assessment, performance assessment, and portfolio assessment.
In Part Two, the literature relating to the assessment methods identified in Part One is reviewed, revealing that there is not much research that supports their validity and reliability. However, encouraging new work on selected-response tests is forming the basis for reconsideration of past criticisms of this technique. Despite the major developments in contextual assessment methodologies in science education, two important unanswered questions remain, namely, whether grades can be considered as genuine numeric quantities and whether the individual student is the appropriate unit of assessment in public accountability. Given these issues and the requirement for science assessment to satisfy the goals of the individual, the classroom, and society, tentative recommendations are put forward addressing these parallel needs in the assessment of science learning.
Klassen, S. (2006). The Science Thought Experiment: How Might it be Used Profitably in the Classroom? Interchange, 37(1–2), 77–96.
Abstract: It is well established that thought experiments are both scientifically and philosophically significant, and even that they are pedagogically significant. However, the basis and methodology for their pedagogical use is not as well established. Pedagogical thought experiments are defined as mental simulations with special features to isolate certain conceptual elements. It is argued that thought experiments are made pedagogically effective through the process of re-enactment of the thought-experimental process. The process of re-enactment is best captured by rewriting thought experiments as stories. Several examples of thought experiments are analysed for their narrative content and an example is given of a pedagogical thought experiment re-written as a story. Recommendations are made as to how such thought experimental stories can be used effectively.
Klassen, S. (2007). The Application of Historical Narrative in Science Learning: The Atlantic Cable Story. Science & Education, 16(3–5), 335–352.
Abstract : The use of historically-based stories to teach science has both theoretical and practical support. This paper outlines how the historically-based story may be utilized effectively in the classroom and, as an illustration of this, presents the story of Lord Kelvin’s role in the laying of the first trans-Atlantic communications cable during the period from 1857 to 1866. Expected and observed classroom benefits that accrue from this approach are summarized. The paper concludes with an outline of a program of research which incorporates the development of historically-based stories.
Klassen, S. (2007). The Anatomy of a Science Story. Proceedings of the Ninth International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Conference, June 24 - 28, 2007, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
Abstract: Science educators are beginning to establish a theoretical and methodological foundation for constructing and using stories in science teaching. At the same time, it is not clear to what degree science stories that have recently been written adhere to the guidelines that are being proposed. The author has written a story about Louis Slotin, which deals with the beginnings of radiation protection, to serve as a case study. In this paper, the story is dissected and evaluated with the view to begin to establish a method of literary criticism for science stories. The story critique is guided, in part, by student responses to the story.
Klassen, S. (2007). The Construction and Analysis of a Science Story: A Proposed Methodology. Science & Education, published online December 7, 2007: DOI: 10.1007/s11191-007-9126-2.
Abstract: Science educators are beginning to establish a theoretical and methodological foundation for constructing and using stories in science teaching. At the same time, it is not clear to what degree science stories that have recently been written adhere to the guidelines that are being proposed. The author has written a story about Louis Slotin, which deals with the beginnings of radiation protection, to serve as a case study.In this paper, the story is dissected and evaluated with the view to begin to establish a method of literary criticism for science stories. In addition, student responses to the story are investigated and interpreted.
Klassen, S. (2008). Identifying and Addressing Student Difficulties with the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment. Science & Education, published online March 4, 2008:DOI: 10.1007/s11191-008-9141-y.
Abstract: The Millikan oil drop experiment has been characterized as one of the ‘most beautiful’ physics experiments of all time and, certainly, as one of the most frustrating of all the exercises in the undergraduate physics laboratory. A literature review reveals that work done on addressing student difficulties in performing the oil drop experiment has, to date, not achieved a significant measure of success. The historical background of the oil drop experiment is well established in the literature from the perspective of historians of science, but not so from the perspective of teachers and students of science. A summary of historical details surrounding the original experiment suitable for use in revising the instructional approach is presented. Both Millikan and his graduate student, Fletcher, are featured with the view to emphasizing details that humanize the protagonists and that are likely to raise student interest. The issue of the necessary reliance on presuppositions in doing speculative research is raised, both from the historical account and from the insights of university physics students who heard the historical account and performed the experiment. Difficulties current students have in performing the experiment are discussed from the perspective of Hodson’s (1993) framework and the students’ own observations. Last, further historical materials are outlined that may be used to encourage student insight into the fundamental nature of electricity. It is proposed that these aspects are essential as a basis for identifying and addressing student difficulties with the Millikan oil drop experiment.
Levesque, A., et Rivard, L. P. (2007). L’état de la vitalité linguistique dans trois écoles francophones rurales du Manitoba. Communication présentée lors de la conférence annuelle de la Société canadienne pour l’étude de l’éducation (SCÉÉ) tenue à Saskatoon (SK) du 26 au 29 mai 2007. (Conference Paper)
Lewthwaite, B. & McMillan, B. (2007). Combining the Views of Both Worlds: Perceived Constraints and Contributors to Achieving Aspirations for Science Education in Qikiqtani. Canadian Journal of Science Mathematics and Technology, 7(4), 355-376.
Abstract: This paper reports on the first phase of a multiphase science education development project in three Inuit communities in the northern Qikiqtani Region of Nunavut. The development project in its entirety employs an action research methodology and by so doing endeavors to support the improvement of science education delivery in accordance with school community aspirations. The project focuses on (1) establishing the current situation in Kindergarten to Grade 6 science education in the communities, (2) identifying developmental aspirations for stakeholders within the communities and potential contributors and constraints to these aspirations, (3) implementing mechanisms for achieving identified aspirations, and finally, (4) evaluating the effectiveness of such mechanisms. This paper focuses on the initial phase of the development project; evaluating the current situation in Kindergarten to Grade 6 science education and identifying the developmental aspirations and perceived constraints and contributors for achieving these science education aspirations within these communities. Finally, the paper outlines some priorities to consider for further education development based on the outcomes of the preliminary discussions.
Lewthwaite, B., Stoeber, R. & Renaud, R. (2007). Les facteurs qui influencent l'offre des sciences dans les milieux minoritaires fracaphones (Teacher perceptions of factors influencing science delivery in francophone-minority settings). Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7(4) 317-334.
Abstract: The study described in this paper is the initial qualitative phase of a multi-phase study focusing on improving science education delivery in francophone-minority settings in central Canada. This phase of the study elucidates the broad and complex factors influencing Kindergarten to Grade 9 science curriculum delivery in these settings. The study begins by exploring the themes generated from several qualitative studies pertaining to the phenomenon of science delivery in selected francophone-minority settings in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Using Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model, the study, furthermore, systematically conceptualizes the origin of and interplay among these factors influencing science delivery. Finally, a description of current science education development activities within Manitoba francophone-minority settings is provided. (Please note this article is in French).
Lewthwaite, B., Stoeber, R. & Renaud, R. (2007). The Development, Validation and Application of a Science Curriculum Delivery Evaluation Questionnaire for Francophone-Minority Settings. Canadian Journal of Science Mathematics and Technology, 7(4) 335-354.
Abstract: The study described in this paper examines the procedures used in the identification of the broad and complex factors influencing science curriculum delivery in
francophone-minority settings where the teaching of science is the responsibility of
non-specialist science teachers. Furthermore, it describes the processes involved in the
development and validation of an evaluation instrument, the Science Delivery Evaluation
Instrument for Francophone-minority Settings (SDEIFMS) used to identify factors
influencing science program delivery. The study begins by exploring the themes generated
from several qualitative studies pertaining to the phenomenon of science delivery
francophone-minority settings in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Subsequent to this,
quantitative procedures used to develop and validate the SDEIFMS are presented. Finally,
practical applications of the SDEIFMS as a part of an ongoing CRYSTAL initiative are also
Lewthwaite, B.E. (2006). Contributors and impediments to science teacher-leader development. Science Education, 90 (2), 331-347
Abstract: This inquiry examines the personal attribute and environmental factors that contribute to and impede science teacher-leader development. Using a narrative approach, the inquiry focuses on the experiences of three teachers in three different New Zealand primary schools (Years 1-6) as they develop in their capabilities as science teacher-leaders during sustained school-wide science delivery improvement projects. Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model and Rutter’s views on resiliency are used as a foundation for interpreting the science teacher-leader development process. Teachers identify a variety of personal attribute and environmental factors and the interplay between these factors as risk and supportive factors contributing to and impeding their development as science teacher-leaders. Teachers also identify that their development is influenced by several proximal processes that are context and time dependent. Ramifications of this study in the context of general school curriculum, in particular, science development are also considered.
Lewthwaite, B.E. (2008). Towards Treating Chemistry Teacher Candidates as Human. Research in Science Education, 38(3) 343-363.
Abstract: This research inquiry investigates the factors influencing chemistry teacher candidates’ development during their extended practica in the second and final year of an After-Degree Bachelor of Education at a university in central Canada. A variety of data sources are used to identify the risk and protective factors impeding and contributing to the achievement of their chemistry pedagogical aspirations. Two theoretical frameworks, both having their origins in the pioneering work of Kurt Lewin, are used to conceptualize how a complex amalgam of personal attribute and environmental factors and the interplay among these factors influence teacher candidate developmental trajectories. The tenets of both Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model and Learning Environment research provide insights into how the factors influencing teacher candidate development can be understood and systematically documented to provide a template for reflective consideration of the practicum experience for both teacher candidates and those involved in fostering the development of chemistry teacher candidates.
Lewthwaite, B.E. (2007). From School in Community to a Community-Based School: The Journey of an Aboriginal Principal. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 64, 1-23. Accessible through: http://www.umanitoba.ca/publications/cjeap/articles/brian_lewthwaite.htmlb
Abstract : This paper explores the history and processes associated with the
transformation of a northern Canadian Aboriginal² school into a culture-based
community school for its Metis, Inuvialuit and Gwichin citizens. The factors
providing the impetus for change and processes fostering change are examined
through the critical lens of Kaupapa Maori Theory, a guiding framework for
transformative praxis in New Zealand Maori schools. As well, the paper
examines current developments in the area of science curriculum development
and delivery within this school community that are consistent with culture-
and place-based education practice and the aspirations of the community.
Lewthwaite, B. (2006). "I want to enable teachers in their change": Exploring the Role of a Superintendent on Science Curriculum Delivery. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Issue 52.
Abstract: This research inquiry explored the factors influencing successful science program delivery among early- and middle-years schools within a rural school division in central Canada. The study is framed by the author’s personal inquiry into how psycho-social factors at the classroom, school and school division level influence science program delivery. In line with case study methodology, the inquiry uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods and data sources to identify the contributors at the classroom, school and divisional level to science delivery. A validated science program delivery evaluation tool, the Science Curriculum Implementation Questionnaire (SCIQ), is used as the foundation for the quantitative data collection and ensuing teacher, administration and science education community discussions. Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model and Rutter’s views on resiliency are used as a framework for interpreting the data collected and understanding the factors supporting successful science delivery. Participants identify a variety of personal attribute and environmental factors and the interplay between these factors as supportive factors contributing to effective science delivery at the classroom, school and divisional level. Implications of this inquiry are discussed, especially within the context of the role of the superintendent in influencing curriculum delivery.
Lewthwaite, B.E. (2006). Small measures for promoting creativity in science investigative planning? . In R.K.Coll (Ed.) STERpapers 2006 (pp. 3-27). Hamilton, New Zealand: Centre for Science & Technology Education Research, University of Waikato.
Abstract: This research inquiry, based on a participatory action research model, explored the influence of teacher interventions for promoting student creativity in planning science investigations. The study is the second phase of an ongoing research project focusing on understanding and fostering creativity in Year 3 to Year 6 (age eight to 11) students in the written planning of fair-testing type investigations. As a response to the outcomes of the first phase of the study, teachers implemented five strategies that they believed would foster student creative expression. On the basis of the student responses, evidence of student creativity was identified and themes generated as to strategies that promote creativity expression. Of the strategies implemented only those that modeled investigative plans and then provided opportunity for discussion and negotiation had a positive, albeit quite minor, influence on creativity expression. Based on the findings of this study, implications for teachers in promoting creativity in students’ scientific investigative planning are considered. As well, the third phase of this ongoing research agenda is described.
Mason, R. & McFeetors, J. (2007). Student Trajectories in High School Mathematics: Issues of Choice, Support, and Identity-making. Canadian Journal of Science Mathematics and Technology, 7(4), 291-316.
Abstract: This study explored the range of experiences of students making two kinds of decisions in relation to high school mathematics courses. The first decision is their choices of courses. In mathematics, students leaving grade nine selected for their grade ten year one course (usually) from five possibilities: an advanced-placement honors stream, an academic course with a traditional symbol-manipulation approach, an academic course with a technology-based applications approach, a non-academic mathematics-for-citizenship course, and (as an imposed choice) repeating the grade nine mathematics course. The second point of decision-making occurred within their mathematics and science courses â€“ students constantly made choices about how, and how much, to apply themselves to the challenges of succeeding in the courses they had chosen. To a considerable extent, studentsâ€™ course choices conformed to expectations regarding the influence of socio-economic status and prior achievement. Overwhelmingly, students were concerned more for the credentialing value of courses than their educational value or their structural nature. Within their courses, most students focused their attention on doing the work rather than the content or the learning process. Students reported being encouraged to do their work by teachers, but could not provide any indication of tactical support with becoming effective learners. The final outcomes of the studentsâ€™ marks suggest that in the context of the study the grade ten mathematics courses are much more effective as gatekeeping mechanisms than as opportunities for students to improve and succeed.
Massey, A.W., Lewthwaite, B. (2008). MÄori Science Education in Aoteoroa-New Zealand: perceived constraints and contributors to achieving school community aspirations. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3(3), 625-654.
Abstract: This paper reports on the first phase of a multiphase science education development project in predominantly MÄori Kura (school communities) in the central region of the North Island of Aoteoroa-New Zealand. The development project parallels a similar CRYSTAL-based project in Nunavut and in its entirety employs an action research methodology and by so doing endeavours to support the improvement of science education delivery in accordance with school community aspirations. The project focuses on (1) establishing the current situation in Year One to Year Eight science education in the communities; (2) identifying developmental aspirations for stakeholders within the communities and potential contributors and constraints to these aspirations; (3) implementing mechanisms for achieving identified aspirations; and finally, (4) evaluating the effectiveness of such mechanisms. This paper focuses on the initial phase of the development project; evaluating through the lenses of Kaupapa MÄori Theory and Bronfenbrenner's bio-ecological model the current situation in Year One to Year Eight science education and identifying the developmental aspirations and perceived constraints and contributors for achieving these science education aspirations within these communities. Finally, the paper outlines some priorities to consider for further education development based on the outcomes of the preliminary discussions.
McMillan, B. (2007). A teacher candidate's experience in the teaching of science using historical narratives and stories. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7(4), 377-400.
Abstract: This study was designed to determine the effect of narratives and stories from the history of science (McMillan, 2007). Impediments to using the historical narratives and stories were encountered and attributed to six factors that, unexpectedly, had also been identified as creating challenges for student teaching. These are time management, institutional and job complexity, unengaged cooperating teachers, poor student motivation, cognitive content mastery, and cognitive pedagogical mastery. As straightforward as this may seem, when the teacher-initiated changes to the historical components of lessons are viewed through Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological theory of human development (1987), these impediments become the consequences of a field experience where too little attention was paid to the environmental and person-process variables required for engagement and success. Although well conceptualized for nine-year-old students and well supported by the developer-researcher at the micro-level, the gap between the teacher candidate’s implemented lessons and the lessons created for the instructional unit widened as the practicum moved toward completion. The result was a series of lessons in which the historical stories and narratives were dispensed, although typically in a distorted or abridged manner. Several explanations for these teacher-initiated changes are given, although the necessary reciprocal relationship between the developing individual and significant persons in the individual’s immediate environment is presented as the most probable. While this aspect of the bio-ecological theory of human development is used to explain the effect of disposition and environment on the impromptu transformation of the lessons during delivery, it is not suggested that using the history of science in the teaching of children in school science is something that only experienced teachers can do.
McMillan, B. (2007). Inuit Qaujimajatuqangiit, Stories, and Science Teaching in Nunavut. Proceedings of the Ninth International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Conference, June 24 - 28, 2007, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
Abstract: This paper reports on the development of learning units for 6-9 year old students in three communities located in the North Qikiqtani region of Nunavut. The units address sound and light outcomes in the Canadian Common Framework of Science Learning Outcomes, K – 12. More importantly, they incorporate aspirations of the local communities, District Education Authorities, and Nunavut government for ‘bothways’ science education: an education that develops knowledge in and about science and knowledge passed on to the Inuit by their ancestors. In our attempt to bring Inuit culture, history, traditions, and values into school science, published oral histories and English language transcriptions of elders’ accounts of Inuit Quajimajatuqangiit are utilized. Examples of the stories and narratives, created for Nunavut teachers and children from these resources, are presented and discussed in the context of ‘two-way’ science learning.
McMillan, B.A. (2007). Learning about light in Grade 4: What happened to the illuminating stories from the history of science and technology. In, P. Heering & D. Osewold (Eds.), Constructing scientific understanding through contextual teaching (pp. 163-201). Leipzig: Frank & Timme.
Abstract: The research reported here focuses on impediments to using historical narratives and stories in an instructional unit developed to address government mandated learning outcomes for science and the common conceptions held by children. The research took place in a Grade 4 classroom and involved a five-week series of thirteen connected lessons, a review, and a unit test. The lessons, in draft form, included (1) stories of light investigations of Archimedes and Isaac Newton designed to guide students in their investigatory work and to provide a context for substantiating new concepts, (2) narratives of technological innovations of David Brewster, Galileo, Johann Gutenberg, Robert Hooke, and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek designed to introduce students to individuals in science and technology and to the objects they built and/or the purposes for which the objects were utilized, and (3) collaborative learning activities, first-hand investigations, and teacher-student conversations designed to support learning and assist students in attaining knowledge, skill and attitude outcomes. The results obtained show that the10% of a teaching day for Kindergarten through Grade 6 science, recommended by Manitoba Education, is inadequate for implementing essential phases (engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation, with closure) of a meaningful science lesson in which elements of the history of science or technology are incorporated. In addition to the constraint of time, factors that inhibited the implementation of the prepared historical narratives and stories included weather conditions, teacher knowledge, and the science knowledge and skill levels of the students. Other factors that inhibited the educative potential of the implemented but abbreviated narratives and stories were the social environment of the classroom and the psychosocial resilience of children in the face of adversity. The implications of the findings are discussed.
McMillan, B.A. (2005). Stories of a 19th Century Arctic Whaler and School Science Education. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education/Revue canadienne de l’enseignement des sciences, des mathématiques et des technologies , 5(4), 503-516.
Abstract: The science we teach to children is often more commensurate with natural history than contemporary physics, biology, and chemistry. For that reason, the science stories we tell should perhaps be of scientists who observed the natural world, described and classified its contents, and attempted explanations. William Scoresby, Jr. (1789 – 1857), a whaling captain, Arctic explorer and surveyor, philosopher, and friend to Joseph Banks and James Joule, is one such scientist. He has been described as “an individual of a singularly active and observant mind, who was ever careful to record and preserve his observations” (Scoresby-Jackson, 1861, pp. v – vi). He exemplifies an inquiry stance and scientific disposition we hope to cultivate in children. The questions he asked were derived from first hand experiences including conversations, and many of the investigations he carried out on whaling ships in the icy seas of the Arctic regions would appeal as much to children as they do to adults. It is suggested that his scientific work be used to assist teachers in developing children’s scientific skills, scientific attitudes, and scientific knowledge.
Metz , D. & Stinner, A. (2006). A Role for Historical Experiments: Capturing the ␣ Spirit of the Itinerant Lecturers of the 18th Century. Science & Education, published online 14 June 2006. DOI: 10.1007/s11191-006-9016-z.
Abstract: Gerald Rutherford (1964), one of the original authors of the Harvard Project Physics course which emphasized the history of science, expressed a view of inquiry which advocated the historical re-constructions of significant experiments. To implement this view we examine two modes of historical re-constructions; Heering’s (Paper presented at the Itinerant Physicists of the 17th century Conference, Pognana, Italy, June 1–6, 2003) replication method for historical experiments and our development of historical representations. Heering describes the replication method in three phases: the construction of the apparatus, the recreation of the experimental procedure, and the contextualisation of the experience. In our adaptation of this process for the science classroom we recognize teachers have limited access to methods and resources in historiography. Consequently, the historical re-construction is guided by a historical narrative. As it relates to a historical experiment the narrative has four parts; Introduction, Experimental design, Experimental results, and Analysis.
Metz , D. (2007). We Now Interrupt the Story: Mediating Student Learning Using Historical Stories, Proceedings of the Ninth International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Conference, June 24 - 28, 2007, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
Abstract: Integrating history and philosophy of science and science teaching has been advocated by many educators for many years and there are indications that it would be welcomed by students. One means of integrated suggested is the use of historical science stories. While the historical story has some interesting potential we are advised to focus attention on some of the issues surrounding the implementation of science stories in the classroom. In this paper, I consider what HPS looks like in the implemented curriculum today. Further, I outline briefly some aspects of the literature on student comprehension and advance a form of science story intended to actively engage students in the implemented curriculum.
Metz , D. (2007). William Wales and the 1769 Transit of Venus: Puzzle solving and the determination of the astronomical unit. Science & Education, published online 10 January 2007. DOI: 10.1007/s11191-006-9073-3.
Abstract: According to Thomas Kuhn, a significant part of “normal science” is the fact gathering, empirical work which is intended to illustrate an existing paradigm. Some of this effort focuses on the determination of physical constants such as the astronomical unit (AU). For Kuhn, normal science is also what prepares students for membership in a particular scientific community and is embodied in some form in our science textbooks. However, neither Kuhn nor the textbook says much about the individuals who practice normal science, especially those who had been relegated to the “hack” duties of long and arduous measurement and calculation. In this paper, to provide a context for students of astronomy, I will outline the story of the determination of the AU and in particular the contribution of William Wales, an obscure British astronomer. Wales, toiling in the shadow of Halley (of Halley’s comet fame), Mason and Dixon (of Mason and Dixon line fame) and the infamous Captain Cook endured a brutal winter in northern Canada for a brief glimpse of the 1769 transit of Venus. In the end, Wales supplied one small piece of the puzzle in the determination of the AU and he exemplified the human spirit and persistence of a Kuhnian “puzzle solver”.
Metz, D., Klassen, S., & McMillan, B. (2007). Integrating science curricula in the middle school: Utilizing historical perspectives. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7 (4), 401-416.
Abstract: Science curriculum outcomes in the middle school are typically associated with the decontextualized science found in textbooks and teacher resources. However, the typical middle years classroom with a single teacher is an ideal setting for an integrated approach to learning science in the context of social studies, language arts, art, and other subject areas. In this paper, we describe the first phase of a three phase integrated curriculum project. The curriculum uses an historical perspective, narratives, and a student-centred approach to create materials that integrate the Grade 5 Science weather cluster with the Grade 5 social studies unit on the Canadian fur trade. Risk factors that contribute to inadequate science teaching and learning are identified, and several protective factors that contribute to teacher efficacy are advanced.
Metz , D., Klassen, S., McMillan, B., Clough, M., & Olson, J. (2007). Building a Foundation for the Use of Historical Narratives. Science & Education, 16(3–5), 313–334.
Abstract: Many educators today advocate the use of historical narratives as one of a number of possible contexts for teaching science. However, several pedagogical and epistemological issues arise when implementing narratives in the classroom. In this paper, we are interested in expanding our view of narrative, specific to integrating the history of science and science teaching, and we extend our argument beyond simple anecdotal references to recognise the benefits of the historical narrative in a variety of ways. At the same time, we address pedagogical concerns by broadening perceptions of the manner and contexts in which narratives can be developed so as to include imaginative and manipulative elements that provide interactive experiences for students that are more conducive to implementation by science teachers. Several practical examples are presented as illustrations of historical narratives with imaginative and manipulative elements that by design facilitate a more meaningful implementation in the science classroom.
Niaz, M., Klassen, S., McMillan, B., & Metz, D. (2008). Leon Cooper’s Perspective on Teaching Science: An Interview Study. Science & Education , published online September 8, 2006:DOI:10.1007/s11191-008-9175-1.
Abstract: The authors of this paper portray the perspective of Professor Leon Cooper, a theoretical physicist, Nobel laureate, active researcher, and physics textbook author, on teaching science and on the nature of science (NOS). The views presented emerged from an interview prepared by the authors and responded to in writing by Professor Cooper. Based on the gathered data and the subsequent interpretation of it, the authors identified several educational implications and drew the following conclusions: (a) science should be taught within an historical perspective; (b) textbook authors generally have an empiricist epistemology which makes their presentation of science difficult to understand; (c) an historical perspective inevitably involves comparing, contrasting, and scrutinizing different historical accounts of the same events; (d) varying interpretations of observations do not undermine the objective nature of science; (e) new ideas in physics comprise an imposed vision of the world, and these ideas are then slowly accepted by the scientific community; (f) the current view in any science is almost always a mixture of data, hypotheses, theoretical ideas, and conjectures; (g) since experiments are difficult to perform and understand, scientists rely on their presuppositions to guide the integration of data, theory, and conjectures; (h) inconsistencies in the construction of theories can facilitate new theoretical ideas; and (i) case studies based on various experiments show that scientists use intuition which is guided by facts, conjectures, and speculations.
Rivard, Léonard. (2008). Créer des liens entre des communautés éducatives. Éducation Manitoba, 7(1), 7. http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/m12/bulletin/pdf/bulleting-v7n1.pdf . Vérifié le 22 décembre 2008.
Rivard, Léonard. (2008). Linking Communities Together. Education Manitoba, 7(1), 7. http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/newsletter/v7_n1.pdf >. Consulted December 22, 2008.
Rivard, L. P. (2008). Écrire et parler pour construire son savoir en sciences. Québec français. 149 (printemps), 72-74.
Rivard, L. P. et Cormier, M. (2008). Teaching Science to French-Speaking Students in English Canada Using an Instructional Congrue nce Model Involving Discourse-Enabling Strategies. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literacy, 8(1), 23-41. Retrieved on March 25, 2008 from http://l1.publicationarchive.com/public?fn=enter&repository=1&article=214
Abstract: Outside the Province of Quebec in Canada, most Francophones live in a minority-language context in which English dominates the linguistic and cultural landscape. In North America and the world, the English language has become the lingua franca of the scientific community and of society, generally. Enhancing the teaching of science for Francophones will require providing a rich array of discursive opportunities in the minority language while moving students from contextualised to de-contextualised language. Cormier (2004) developed a model for teaching science to minority francophone students where reading, talking and writing are core activities. The authors present a revised model that better addresses the needs of all linguistic minority learners in the science classroom.
Rivard, L. P., Dilk, S. et Barnabé, G. (2007). Étude comparative des compétences grammaticale s d’élèves en FL1 et en FL2 du secondaire au Manitoba. The Canadian Modern Language Review / La revue canadienne des langues vivantes,63(4), 487-516.
Rivard, L. P. & Cormier, M. (2008). Créer des liens entre diverses communautés éducatives : bien préparer nos élèves à lire le monde. Third National CRYSTAL Conference held at the Université de Sherbrooke (Québec) du 25 au 27 septembre 2008. (Conference Paper)
Abstract: This presentation will update participants with regards to our efforts in Manitoba to enhance teacher knowledge of the languages of science. In partnership with the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM) and Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, our research team continues to support teachers working in a minority language context. One of the recent projects involves supporting teachers and students while they engage with science text, both print and digital. We have reviewed the literatures on adolescent literacy to identify research-based strategies for use in the science classroom. We are fine-tuning an Internet platform for creating a virtual community of professionals supporting learning (« communauté d’apprentissage professionnelle » ou CAP). We are currently developing a professional development program for use with teachers during this school year.
Rivard, L. P. (2008). Colloque 611 : Table ronde # 1 : L’éducation scientifique en milieu francophone minoritaire :d’hier à aujourd’hui. Congrès annuel de l’ACFAS tenu à Québec les 6 et 7 mai. (Conference Paper)
Rivard, L. P. & Cormier, M. (2008). Colloque 521 : Lire pour apprendre dans différents domaines d’apprentissage au primaire et au secondaire. En réponse aux besoins des élèves : la lecture dans les cours de sciences au secondaire. Congrès annuel de l’ACFAS tenu à Québec le 6 mai. (Conference Paper)
Rivard, L. P., & Stoeber, R. (2008). Supporting the Professional Growth of Francophone Science Teachers: A Progress Report on Several Initiatives. Presentation at the Manitoba Education Research Network Forum held in Winnipeg, Manitoba February 8 and 9, 2008. (Conference Paper)
Rivard, L. P., & Levesque, A. (2007). How Teachers in Minority Francophone Schools Use Language-Based Activities While Teaching Science. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) held in Saskatoon (SK). May 26-29, 2007. (Conference Paper)
Abstract: The problem investigated in this descriptive study is the how literacy is enacted in minority francophone science classrooms. This descriptive study involved observing three different secondary science teachers, all from rural schools, while they taught the same instructional unit as mandated by the provincial curriculum. We observed how these teachers used activities involving reading, writing, and talking to support the teaching and learning of a science unit on electricity. Each case study addressed how the teacher enacted literacy through classroom events orchestrated during the instructional unit. Fifty class periods were observed by two research assistants during the course of the study. An observation protocol was developed based on existing instruments used in earlier studies by the Charleston County School District (2000) and Sawada et al. (2000). Our protocol categorized 20 different instructional/literacy events, seven types of textual material, and nine kinds of instructional supports. For each event or episode, observers noted the actual time spent and described what teachers and students were actually doing. Fine-grained analyses of the kinds of texts that students read and that students wrote during the unit on electricity were also included. Our objective is to develop a professional development program to support these teachers in the teaching of science while they address issues related to literacy in the minority language classroom. Our study will provide a window on how literacy is enacted in francophone science classroom.
Rivard, L. P., & Levesque, A. (2007). How is Literacy Enacted in Science Classrooms? Three Case Studies in Minority Language Schools. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching held in New Orleans (LA). April 15-18, 2007. (Conference Paper)
Abstract: The problem investigated in this descriptive study is the how literacy is enacted in minority francophone science classrooms. This descriptive study involved observing three different secondary science teachers, all from rural schools, while they taught the same instructional unit as mandated by the provincial curriculum. We observed how these teachers used activities involving reading, writing, and talking to support the teaching and learning of a science unit on electricity. Each case study addressed how the teacher enacted literacy through classroom events orchestrated during the instructional unit. Fifty class periods were observed by two research assistants during the course of the study. An observation protocol was developed based on existing instruments used in earlier studies by the Charleston County School District (2000) and Sawada et al. (2000). Our adaptation included 20 different instructional/literacy events, seven types of textual material, and nine kinds of other instructional supports. For instance, lab activities, demonstrations, small-group discussions, writing activities, reading activities, note-taking, and answering questions are just some of the events that were recorded. For each event or episode, observers noted the actual time spent and described what teachers and students were actually doing. Observers also described the kinds of texts that were the object of these literacy events, either as comprehension or production tasks, and indicated how these activities were organized in the classroom, for instance, as individual, group, or class activities. Copies of these texts were included in each of the observation reports. Fine-grained analysis of the kinds of texts that students read and that students wrote during the study will also be included. Three case studies, one for each teacher, were produced during the Fall and Winter on the basis of these observations. Each case study also included a quantitative analysis of instructional/literacy events during the science unit. Furthermore, all three teachers were involved in the analysis as research collaborators. Our objective is to develop a professional development program to support these teachers in the teaching of science while they address issues related to literacy in the minority language classroom. Francophone students’ results have been unsatisfactory in national and international school-based assessments in science. In a pan-Canadian study of 13 and 16 year-old students, francophone students living in minority situations consistently obtained lower scores in science, compared to anglophone students from the same provinces (Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, 1999) . In 2001, a major study, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE) found similar results. For all provinces in which the number of students participating in the assessment permitted statistical comparisons, the francophone linguistic minority always obtained lower results in science, mathematics and reading than anglophone students (OECD-PISA Study, 2001) . Our study will provide a window on how literacy is enacted in francophone science classroom. In our view, this is essential before problems can be accurately defined and possible solutions proposed. Teachers throughout the world are confronted with issues related to the language of instruction and the teaching and learning of science (Bernhardt, Destino, Kamil, & Rodriguez-Munoz, 1995; Yore, in preparation). We believe that this paper contributes to this important conversation among science researchers. Not only will this paper inform Canadian educators who are presently faced with disparities between science learners based on the language of instruction, but also others confronted with second-language or bilingual issues.
Rivard, L. P. & Stoeber, R. (2007). Linking Communities to Enhance the Teaching and Learning of Science in Minority Language Schools : A Progress Report. Paper presented at the Research Forum of the Manitoba Education Research Network (MERN) held in Winnipeg (MB) on February 23, 2007. (Conference Paper)
Rivard, L. P., et Stoeber, R. (2007). Enseignement des sciences en milieu francophone minoritaire : défis et solutions. Atelier présenté lors de la 34 e Conférence pédagogique annuelle des EFM tenue à Winnipeg (Manitoba) le 23 novembre 2006. (Conference Paper)
Rivard, L. P. (2006). Summary Writing : A Comparative Study of French Immersion and Francophone Students’ Grammatical Competencies. Paper presented at the Joint American Association for Applied Linguistics and Association canadienne de linguistique appliquée / Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics 2006 Conference held in Montréal (Québec). June 17-20, 2006. (Conference Paper)
Rivard, L. P. et Cormier, M. (2006). Teaching Science in French Canadian Schools Using a Cultural-Instructional Congruence Model. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education held in Toronto ( Ontario). May 27-30, 2006. (Conference Paper)
Stinner, A. (2006). The Large Context Problem (LCP) Approach, Interchange, 37(1–2), 19–30.
Stinner, A. (2007). Toward a Humanistic Science Education: Using Stories, Drama, and the Theater, Canadian Theater Review, pp. 14-19.
Abstract: There is a perceived split between the humanities and the sciences that is seen as having established two distinct and identifiable modes of thought. The latest public manifestation of it appeared just over thirty years ago in C.P. Snow's "two cultures" theory .What is of concern is that this separation seems to be institutionalized, is enshrined in our textbooks and consciously incorporated in our curricula. I will suggest that the science story, and science drama, as described in this paper, may offer a partial reconciliation between the two modes of thought. The question “What can theatre do for science?” is discussed, reviewing several plays that I have written and seen performed.
Stinner, A. (2008). Istvan Hargittai: The Martians of Science: Five Physicists who changed the Twentieth Century, Physics in Perspective. In press.
Abstract: This is a review of a book by a well-known Hungarian physical chemist that documents the achievements and contributions of five noted Hungarian scientists (Theodor von Kármán, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann , and Edward Teller). I agree with Hargittai that it is impossible to overestimate the contribution made to the Allied victory in World War II by the “Martians” collectively, and especially of Kármán’s individual contribution to the Air Force. I also agree that his Martians contributed decisively to the war efforts, regardless of whether they had administrative positions or not. They made a significant difference and they emerged from the war as transformed scientists and personalities.
Stinner, A. and Metz, D. (2006). Thought Experiments, Einstein, and Physics Education. Physics in Canada, pp. 27–37. (Nov./Dec. 2006).
Abstract: In this paper we present a set of thought experiments that we believe address the fundamental concepts leading to Einstein’s theory of relativity. These thought experiments discuss from a historical perspective the connections between the thought experiments and the placing of the special theory of relativity and the general theory of relativity into the secondary physics curriculum. We believe that physics teachers and students could find our story-line presentation of thought experiments a provoking and exciting alternative to the standard physics fare. To enrich the presentation we have tried to embed relevant historical comments to show the evolution of ideas and concepts that led to Einstein’s work. This summary should therefore assist the physics teacher in preparing her lessons for the presentation of the thought experiments as well as becoming better acquainted with the history connected with them.