Rethinking what is "developmentally appropriate" from a learning progression perspective: The power and the challenge

Review of Science, Mathematics and ICT Education 01/2009;
Source: DOAJ


Learning progressions have recently become increasingly visible in studies of learning and instruction in science. In this essay, I explore the power and considerable challenges in rethinking what may be developmentally appropriate for young children's learning science from the perspective of learning progressions. In particular, I examine the issues of: a) the design of promising learning progressions within the vast design space of potential progressions; b) identification of cognitive resources relevant to a progression; c) analysis of effort / payoff for particular competencies at different points in the progression; d) attribution of cognitive limitations and achievements; e) coordination and collaboration needed to support the design, utilization, and refinement of the learning progression; and f) absence of straightforward correspondence between a learning progression and trajectories of different children's knowledge-development.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "Another issue concerns the criteria we use to determine age appropriate or developmentally appropriate progressions; that is, is the proposed topic and pathway accessible to the learner. Metz (2009) cogently argues that we need a rethinking of 'developmentally appropriate' when adopting a learning progression perspective, children are more capable than we think. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Our paper is an analytical review of the design, development and reporting of learning progressions and teaching sequences. Research questions are: (1) what criteria are being used to propose a ‘hypothetical learning progression/trajectory’ and (2) what measurements/evidence are being used to empirically define and refine a ‘hypothetical learning progression/trajectory’? Publications from five topic areas are examined: teaching sequences, teaching experiments, didaktiks, learning trajectories in mathematics education and learning progressions in science education. The reviewed publications are drawn from journal special issues, conference reports and monographs. The review is coordinated around four frameworks of Learning Progressions (LP): conceptual domain, disciplinary practices, assessment/measurement and theoretical/guiding conceptions. Our findings and analyses show there is a distinction between the preferred learning pathways that focus on ‘Evolutionary LP’ models and the less preferred but potentially good LP starting place curriculum coherence focused ‘Validation LP’ models. We report on the respective features and characteristics for each.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Studies in Science Education
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study explored infield prekindergarten teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward teaching science to young children. In addition, prekindergarten teachers’ previous and future interests in science-related professional development were assessed. Data were collected through a self-report measure, the preschool teacher attitudes and beliefs toward science. The sample consisted of 112 prekindergarten teachers. Findings suggest prekindergarten teachers may be more comfortable with conducting and integrating science activities and understanding the benefits of science for young children’s global development than previously thought. However, teachers continue to indicate feelings of inadequacy and anxiety toward their own science knowledge and ability to support children’s scientific learning. Future research should examine additional methods of assessing science teaching in prekindergarten classrooms, such as direct observation, as well as the impact of professional development on attitudes, beliefs, and practices of prekindergarten teachers when teaching science.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Early Childhood Education Journal
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Two fundamental questions about science are relevant for science educators: (a) What is the nature of science? and (b) what aspects of nature of science should be taught and learned? They are fundamental because they pertain to how science gets to be framed as a school subject and determines what aspects of it are worthy of inclusion in school science. This conceptual article re-examines extant notions of nature of science and proposes an expanded version of the Family Resemblance Approach (FRA), originally developed by Irzik and Nola (International handbook of research in history, philosophy and science teaching. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 999–1021, 2014) in which they view science as a cognitive-epistemic and as an institutional-social system. The conceptual basis of the expanded FRA is described and justified in this article based on a detailed account published elsewhere (Erduran and Dagher in Reconceptualizing the nature of science for science education: scientific knowledge, practices and other family categories. Springer, Dordrecht, 2014a). The expanded FRA provides a useful framework for organizing science curriculum and instruction and gives rise to generative visual tools that support the implementation of a richer understanding of and about science. The practical implications for this approach have been incorporated into analysis of curriculum policy documents, curriculum implementation resources, textbook analysis and teacher education settings.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Science & Education