Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Glasson, G. E., & Lalik, R. V. (1993). Reinterpreting the learning cycle from a social constructivist perspective: A qualitative study of teachers' beliefs and practices. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30, 187-207.

Social constructivists emphasize the importance of the interplay between language and activity as students learn in social settings. Teachers, they believe, should provide their students with opportunities to discuss and test their own ideas and consider the ideas of others. The learning cycle model for science instructionÑexploration, invention, and discoveryÑallows for active language use and thus appears consistent with the notion of social constructivism. Glasson and Lalik report on a case study to explore the changing beliefs of a physics teacher as she used the learning cycle in her science classes. The teacher initially expressed the positivistic view that the goal of science instruction was for students to arrive at scientifically acceptable conclusions. She changed her practice to give students more time to discuss and test ideas during problem solving. However, she experienced tension between her efforts to give her students opportunities to develop their own understandings and her efforts to present scientific information. She did, however, move toward giving students more control of their learning and more time to explore and clarify their understanding through dialogue, writing, and collaborative problem solving. The authors conclude by proposing a modification to the learning cycle model, the language-oriented learning cycle with three interactive phasesÑexploration, clarification, and elaboration.

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