ERIC Number: EJ733794
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Multiple Epistemological Coherences in an Eighth-Grade Discussion of the Rock Cycle
Rosenberg, Seth; Hammer, David; Phelan, Jessica
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v15 n2 p261-292 2006
Research on personal epistemologies (Hofer & Pintrich, 2002) has mostly conceptualized them as stable beliefs or stages of development. On these views, researchers characterize individual students' epistemologies with single, coherent descriptions. Evidence of variability in student epistemologies, however, suggests the need for more complex models. Hammer and Elby (2002) proposed modeling personal epistemologies as comprised of manifold epistemological resources. This difference in ontology--the form research attributes to cognitive structure--accounts for variability: The activation of these epistemological resources depends on context. Our purpose in this article is to argue that it also accounts for coherences in student epistemologies, in particular for multiple local coherences. We advance this argument using a case study of a 15-min discussion by a group of eighth graders about the "rock cycle" (the cyclic transformations of rock among different forms). We begin with evidence of the students' working from a stable, coherent epistemological stance. Then, after a brief, purely epistemological intervention by the teacher, the evidence indicates they are working from a different but also coherent and stable epistemological stance.
Descriptors: Grade 8, Epistemology, Classroom Communication, Geology, Models, Science Instruction, Case Studies, Teaching Methods, Concept Formation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8
Authoring Institution: N/A