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Escalate for argumentation in science: implementation and evaluation Dr Shirley Simon, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "Escalate for argumentation in science: implementation and evaluation Dr Shirley Simon, Institute of Education, University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Escalate for argumentation in science: implementation and evaluation Dr Shirley Simon, Institute of Education, University of London

2 Outline of workshop Theoretical background: –argumentation in science education; –teachers’ professional learning Issues of implementation Strategies for evaluation

3 Theoretical background Osborne, J., Erduran, S. & Simon, S. (2004) Enhancing the quality of argument in school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 41(10), Simon, S., Erduran, S. & Osborne, J. (2006) Learning to teach argumentation: research and development in the science classroom. International Journal of Science Education 28(2- 3),

4 Argumentation in science The coordination of evidence and theory to support or refute an explanatory conclusion, model or prediction is a critically important epistemic task and discourse process in science.

5 Argumentation in science education An important task for science education is to expose the epistemic core of science – the use of argument to construct explanations of the material world and develop children’s ability to understand and practice scientifically valid ways of arguing, enabling them to recognise not only the strengths of scientific argument, but also its limitations.

6 What evidence do we have for… Plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen during photosynthesis Day and Night are caused by a spinning Earth Seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis Living matters is made of cells Lithium, sodium and potassium are similar elements

7 Photosynthesis The standard evidence that plants give off oxygen is to collect the gas given off by elodea in a jar when illuminated by light. The gas will then relight a glowing splint showing it to be oxygen. The evidence that they take in carbon dioxide is hard to show in school science and much more indirect. Normally, we conduct a starch test on a leaf which has been exposed to light and one that has not. By inference the absence of starch in the covered leaf is used to argue that photosynthesis is a process of taking in carbon dioxide to construct more complex molecules.

8 A spinning Earth The evidence for this is either a photograph taken with a long exposure of the pole star. This shows all the stars going round the pole star. Either all the stars are rotating around the Pole Star or the ground on which the camera sits is turning. The second argument is chosen as it is simpler. The classic evidence is the Foucault Pendulum – consisting of a massive bob on a very long string supported by a frictionless pivot. During the course of 24 hours, the plane of rotation moves which can only be explained by the fact that the Earth beneath it is turning.

9 Seasons The evidence here is a combination of factors. First we are not nearer to the Sun in summer as we are 150 million km away as opposed to 147 million km in winter. Second, if the axis is tilted, it will change the angle of incidence of the Sun ’ s rays from 66 o in summer to 14 o in winter. This will increase the area over which the Sun ’ s rays fall by a factor of 2.6 which will explain why it is so much cooler in winter. This combination of observation and model is the best explanation we have which is why we believe it to be true.

10 Developing a pedagogy of argumentation Argument is a form of discourse that needs to be appropriated by children and explicitly taught (Khun 1991) through suitable instruction, task structuring and modelling. Just giving students scientific or controversial socio-scientific issues to discuss will not prove sufficient to ensure the practice of valid argument.

11 Previous research The focus of my previous research (with Jonathan Osborne and Sibel Erduran) was to develop pedagogical practices that support argumentation and foster students’ epistemological development. However introducing argumentation required a shift in the normative (authoritative) nature of classroom discourse towards a more dialogic approach - associated with extended student contributions and uncertainty.

12 Epistemic and social goals From an epistemic perspective there was a need to provide students access to not a singular world-view but to plural accounts of phenomena and the evidence that can be deployed in an argument. From a social perspective, there was a need to establish a social context that fosters dialogic discourse.

13 Toulmin: theoretical and methodological tool Erduran, S., Simon, S. & Osborne, J. (2004) TAPping into argumentation: developments in the application of Toulmin’s argument pattern for studying science discourse. Science Education 88(6),

14 Toulmin’s Argument Pattern For Toulmin, the essential elements of argument are claims, data, warrants and backings. At the base of all arguments is a claim – essentially an unwarranted assertion that a claimant believes has the status of a universal truth. Arguments, however, normally rely on evidence or justifications that consists of data related to the claim by a warrant. Warrants, in turn, may be dependent on a set of underlying theoretical presumptions or backings which are often implicit.

15 Argument and argumentation Argument: a referent to the claim, data, warrants and backings that form the substance or content of an argument. Argumentation: a referent to the process of arguing. The focus of our work has been to explore those strategies which scaffold and support ‘argumentation’ and to develop frameworks for the assessment of its quality.

16 How do we see? Theory 1:Light rays travel from our eyes onto the objects and enable us to see them. Theory 2:Light rays are produced by a source of light and reflect off objects into our eyes so we can see them. Discuss each statement and decide which theory each statement supports. Light travels in straight lines We can still see at night when there is no sun Sunglasses are worn to protect our eyes If there is no light we cannot see a thing We ‘stare at’ people, ‘look daggers’ and ‘catch people’s eye’.

17 A simple argument We must see because light enters the eye [claim]. You need light to see by [data]. After all, otherwise we would be able to see in the dark [warrant].

18 Stronger argument Seeing because light enters the eye makes more sense [claim]. We can't see when there is no light at all [data]. If something was coming out of our eyes, we should always be able to see even in the pitch dark [rebuttal]. Sunglasses stop something coming in, not something going out [data]. The only reason you have to look towards something to see it is because you need to catch the light coming from that direction [rebuttal]. The eye is rather like a camera with a light sensitive coating at the back which picks up light coming in, not something going out [warrant].

19 Models for teacher learning Joyce & Showers Loucks – Horsley et al Adey Bell & Gilbert Hoban-

20 Hoban 2002 Conception of teaching as a dynamic relationship with students and other teachers - change involves uncertainty Reflection in order to understand the emerging patterns of change A sense of purpose that fosters the desire to change A community to share experiences Opportunities for action to test what works or does not work in classrooms Conceptual inputs to extend teachers’ knowledge and experience Sufficient time to adjust to the changes made.

21 Learning to teach argumentation Develop a rationale for teaching argumentation Understand the meaning of argument Resources to try out Strategies for teaching – groupwork, starting, sustaining, finishing argumentation. Sharing experiences – community of practice Reflection – cyclical activity/action research Increasing/preserving capacity for autonomy for CPD to be transformative

22 Negotiated Intervention Exploring the existing situation Negotiate the starting point Negotiate the kind of intervention Development work begins Putting development into practice Reflection and evaluation Re-negotiation Output

23 Escalate CPD Exploring current practice/developing a rationale Understanding argumentation/modelling* Escalate tools Planning for implementation Facilitating* Reflection and sharing Evaluation Planning further activity

24 Using IDEAS DVD Modelling Argument (Clip 8) Facilitating argumentation (Clip 18)

25 Arguing Prompts Why do you think that? What is your reason for that? Can you think of another argument for your view? Can you think of an argument against your view? How do you know? What is your evidence? Is there another argument for what you believe?

26 Using Digalo - three case studies T1 - developing an understanding of electric circuits with years. T2 – debating environmental issues about energy sources with 12 – 13 years. T3 – modelling argumentation with years.

27 T1 – 5 one hour lessons Modelling activity using Digalo – the zoo before Concept cartoons 13/11 Digalo session making predictions 13/11 Whole class reflection -between Concept cartoons again – 21/11 Digalo – to add to the maps – 21/11 Practical work 29/11 Digalo again 6/12 New children, final digalo 17/1


29 T2 – 9 one hour lessons Review energy changes/ conservation (practical and group discussion) How does electricity transfer energy? (practical and role play) Building a battery (enquiry activity) Where do we get electricity from? (practical investigation) Research and debate on energy sources and the environment (presentation and argumentation) What are we paying for when we use electricity? (practical and calculations) How do we reduce the waste of energy? (Discussion)

30 Energy sources Students researched one energy source as a large group, focusing on environmental issues; they presented their ideas; they made their own fact cards. In groups of three, students used all the fact cards to construct arguments on Digalo for their ‘best’ energy source. Students prioritised energy sources and had a class debate.

31 Wind energy facts It is a renewable energy source It is quite easy to set up If winds are calm no electricity will be produced Each wind turbine does not generate very much electricity They have to stop in storms to prevent damage….

32 Example map Show number 2

33 Implementation issues Using computer suites, technical problems Degrees of freedom in designing the scheme of work around Digalo Modelling argumentation Teacher’s role

34 Evaluation – Macro level Question: What constrains/facilitates the implementation of argumentation using Digalo? School/ curriculum level Teacher interview to establishautonomy, confidence, technical barriers.

35 Evaluation – Meso level How do teachers change in their understanding and perceptions of argumentation in science? Teacher learning about the pedagogy of argumentation. Interview. Teacher’s role – video analysis. How do students respond to Digalo? Students engagement and satisfaction - questionnaire

36 Evaluation – Micro-level What quality of argumentation can be deduced from map analysis? How do maps change as a case develops? What do changing maps tell us about knowledge construction? Map analysis –T1 – some maps not recoverable –T2 only 3 out 15 maps found –Zoo example –McDonalds’ examples

37 Levels of argument Level 1 arguments are arguments that are a simple claim versus a counter-claim or a claim versus a claim Level 2 arguments consist of claims with either data, warrants or backings but do not contain any rebuttals Level 3 arguments consist of a series of claims or counter- claims with either data, warrants or backings with the occasional weak rebuttal. Level 4 arguments consist of a claim with a clearly identifiable rebuttal. Such an argument may have several claims and counter-claims. Level 5 arguments – involve an extended argument with claims supported by data and warrants with more than one rebuttal.

38 Analysis of Zoo Map See example

39 Escalate argumentation: Kings School Zoo activity 1 Facilitator Claim: I’m for zoos because… 2 Facilitator Claim: I’m against zoos because… 6 Penguin Argument: Animals are in small enclosures so they have no personal space (supports against) 7 Snail Argument: In the summer animals like monkeys have a big enclosure outside (opposes 6) 8 Penguin Argument: Animals have rationed food so they get thin and unhealthy (supports against) 9 Snail Information: Animals in captivity get well cared for by their zoo keepers and are well fed (opposes 8, supports 1) 12 Penguin Argument: Zoo keepers are cruel to the animals and abuse the animals rights (opposes 9) 15 Snail Argument: Many animals breed successfully in captivity (supports 1 and 9) 17 Penguin Information: Animals have little water so they get exhausted quicker (supports 8) 18 Snail Information: Animals do die in captivity but that is because of old age (opposes 17, link to 1) 19 Penguin Information: Animals get bored quickly and start getting aggressive and unruly (no links) 20 Snail Argument: Animals like elephants get big trees and swinging poles to push (supports 1, opposes 2, opposes 19) 21 Penguin Question: Do you look after your animals such as pets as badly as zoos do? (opposes 9)

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