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Response to a Scholarly Article “Science Education as Conceptual Change” Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Dec 8th, 2019

This article is focused on learning concepts applied to math and science. According to the author, the push to improve science and math education dates back to the 1960s. Efforts were put together to develop sure concepts to help students learn these two subjects.

However, the author notes that not much has been achieved. According to the author, focus should not be on what an individual lacks in learning capacity. Instead, learning concepts should focus on a student’s unique capabilities (Carrey, 2000). These frameworks are alternative concepts, and they are covered by several learning theories.

The author defines concepts as units of mental representation. These, the author says are used to actualize theories of learning. Different concepts can be combined to form a complex structure of representations (Carrey, 2000).

In such a structure, a learner can be able to give explanations and make inferences. In addition, the author asserts that most cognitive scientists agree that concepts are complex structures used in the learning process.

Another issue raised by the author is a learner’s ability to distinguish between a belief and a concept. Children are not able to employ intuition or scientific theories in learning.

Therefore, they may find it easier to learn through beliefs according to the article. The article also articulates that the way concepts are learnt changes with age. These conceptualization skills start changing from the time one is a child up to the time they are around twenty years of age.

Finally, the author claims that the search for effective teaching concepts to be applied when learning math and sciences has many implications.

For example, there is a challenge of diagnosing a child’s abilities in order to come up with effective concepts. In addition, the author challenges the classroom culture in which the students are not engaged in constructing explanations and building to an understanding.

Relation to Piaget and Vygotsky Theories of education

Carey’s article bears both similarities and differences to Piaget’s and Vygotsky theories of education. First, Piaget’s theory of learning emphasizes on the need for individuals to adapt to their environment (Dimitriadis & Kamberelis, 2006). This can be accomplished through assimilation and adaptation.

This process involves changing the cognitive process for it to accept something from the environment. According to Piaget, that is how learning is accomplished. The author of the above article emphasizes that the way concepts are learnt changes with age.

Change in age can also be interpreted to mean change in environment. Piaget states that learning is best achieved when there is a balance between accommodation and assimilation. Individuals have different abilities of achieving this balance.

This is similar to the author’s claims that learning depends a lot on an individual’s abilities. The main difference between Piaget’s theory and the author’s claims is that Piaget’s theory is dependent on external or environmental based processes. The author of the article claims that learning depends mostly on internal processes of conceptualization.

Vygotsky’s theory of learning claims that social interaction is a vital tool in student learning. According to Vygotsky, students learn from each other and from adults through social interaction (Dimitriadis & Kamberelis, 2006).

The above article infers to social interaction in its claim that learning can be through either concepts or beliefs. Most learning beliefs are impacted through adults-children social interactions. Therefore, the article confers that such interactions might influence learning.

This learning theory claims children employ internalized dialogue to help them learn. This can be a form of mental representation, a tool the author of this article claims is vital in learning. Vygotsky’s theory depends on human interaction. However, the author of the article does not list social factors as important in the learning process.

Other Research

Many studies have been carried out on learning concepts and associated theories. Carrey’s work on science and math learning concepts can be compared and contrasted with Fleer’s work. Fleer’s research was on the relationship between everyday concepts and scientific concepts in play-based programs (2009, p. 281).

Both works investigate concepts used in learning. In Carrey’s case, the question is how learning concepts can be used to improve techniques used in teaching math and science. Fleer’s research sought to find out how concepts are formed in play based environments.

Carrey’s research is focused mainly on how different concepts are structured to enable learning. Fleer’s work, on the other hand, focuses on how interaction with a specific environment can influence the concepts formed. In this case, the environment is a playground.

A notable difference between the two studies is that while Carrey’s research focuses on a teaching aspect, Fleer’s focuses on a learning aspect. Carrey is finding out how concepts can be used to improve teaching. On the other hand, Fleer is seeking to find out what concepts children use to learn specific tasks.

Carrey’s research establishes that learning concepts changes with time. Fleer establishes that concept formation depends on material and physical attributes of the environment. Therefore, according to Carrey’s research, different age equals different concepts. For Fleer (2009), different physical environments result into different concepts (p. 300).

Discussion

This research answers basic questions on concepts that can be used to teach math and science. It also offers satisfactory explanations on how concepts relate to the learning process.

However, the article does not shed light on the concepts that are currently employed in teaching math and science. This means there is no way of comparing the current concepts and the ones that author propose.

References

Carrey, S. (2000). Science Education as Conceptual Change. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 21(1), 13–19.

Dimitriadis, G. & Kamberelis, G. (2006). Theory for Education. London: Routledge Publishing

Fleer, M. (2009). Understanding the Dialectical Relations Between Everyday Concepts and Scientific Concepts Within Play-Based Programs. Sci Educ 39, 281-306.

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IvyPanda. "Response to a Scholarly Article “Science Education as Conceptual Change”." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/response-to-a-scholarly-article-science-education-as-conceptual-change/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Response to a Scholarly Article “Science Education as Conceptual Change”." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/response-to-a-scholarly-article-science-education-as-conceptual-change/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Response to a Scholarly Article “Science Education as Conceptual Change”'. 8 December.

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