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Title: An exploration of how a drama-based pedagogy can promote understanding of chemical concepts in 11-15 year old science students
Author: Dorion, Kirk
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 0729
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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A growing body of evidence suggests that some Science teachers use drama-based strategies in order to promote understanding of abstract scientific concepts. These strategies employ action and imagination to simulate systems and processes that are too fast, too slow, too big, too small, too expensive or too dangerous to observe in the classroom. A small group of quantitative and qualitative studies over the past thirty years has suggested that these physical simulations enable learning in secondary students, by promoting discourse and by conveying concept features through a range of sensations. The field is as yet under-theorised, consisting of single case designs and unreplicated methodologies. This multiple case study focused upon an intervention design based on a pedagogical model developed in my Masters research. This study aimed to explore the characteristics of students' interaction and the nature of their resultant conceptions over four months. Each case focussed upon one of eight Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 classes across a variety of UK schools. In each, a curriculum-based particle theory topic was taught in a double-period lesson. Data included video, participant observations, and interviews with three students from each class collected at pre, post and delayed intervals. Findings suggested that the pedagogy engendered engagement and self-regulation in group model-making tasks, and supported thought experiment-type visualisations of dynamic processes. Conceptual development was found to continue up to four months after the lessons. A model of learning was developed in which social interaction and multimodal discourse promoted the association of conceptual features with affective, visual and embodied images, which supported recall, discussion and further conceptual development in the longer term.
Supervisor: Taber, Keith Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Role play ; Chemical education ; Science education ; Multimodality ; Gesture ; Science through drama ; Analogy ; Anthropomorphism ; Multisensory learning ; Particle theory