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Title: Using science museums to enrich and enhance primary school children's learning of science : children engaging in dialogue about museum exhibits
Author: Rowlands, Mark Antony
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 6640
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2012
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The research addresses issues identified in an ESRC Case studentship developed in collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester. The original proposal had as its central aim "informing how museums can most effectively contribute to and enhance children's learning in primary school science". A case study is presented of upper primary school groups visiting the Museum, including discussions of the Museum's schools' provision and the practices of visiting school groups. Within that broader context, a main finding is that children can and do engage in dialogue about museum exhibits in ways that are relevant to their science learning. The finding is supported by empirical evidence from a series of discussions held with 8 to lO-year-old primary school pupils who had visited the Museum. The children find the exhibits rich, interesting and comprehensible enough to be engaging topics of conversation while being sufficiently thought provoking to challenge their ideas and their ways of talking. Sociocultural theory is used as a framework for analysing the science-relevant content of what the children talked about, the patterns of discourse they used, and the identities they enacted. The theory provides a fruitful way of understanding the children's engagement in talking as the concerns, sense of purpose, identification and emotion of participation in a social practice. Implications for museum education practice are identified. Talking about exhibits consolidates and strengthens the general educational value of visits by school groups to the Museum. Suggestions are made for how Museum staff and school teachers can build on children's museum experience to enhance their scientific literacy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available