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Title: Using cultural-historical activity theory to promote argumentation in primary science education
Author: Lazarou, Demetris
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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In science education, argumentation is considered to be a core skill that can empower young people to develop, amongst others, their communicative and reasoning skills, their critical thinking and their metacognitive skills. Many researchers suggest that argumentation is a skill that can be developed and that the process should begin while students are in primary school. From a cultural perspective, even though the systemic nature of argumentation activity has been implicitly recognised in the literature, argumentation as a systemic whole and the dynamics that exist between the constitutive elements of this system has not been researched. Furthermore, the active engagement of stakeholders related to science education, other than teachers, in the design of learning activities aimed at promoting argumentation, has been neglected. This thesis argues that Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) can provide an appropriate framework for promoting argumentation in primary science education and for addressing the issues raised above with regard to argumentation. With respect to CHAT, the research specifically aims to identify and describe instances of expansive learning that might emerge throughout the process and evaluate the use of the theory as a methodological framework for research conducted in educational settings. In this respect CHAT was used in this study as a theoretical, methodological and analytical framework for addressing the aims of the research. More specifically, the notions of the activity system, the object and the contradictions, and the expansive learning theory were the main tools that guided the research process. The findings of the research emphasise the various forms of expansive learning that were observed during the two years that the research was running: as a cycle of learning actions, as movement in the zone of proximal development through which contradictions within the relevant systems were identified and resolved, as transformation of the object of the Activity System of Argumentation in Science Education and as boundary crossing events. Implications for researchers, professional development coordinators and educators are also illustrated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available