Filmmaking: a new pedagogical method to explore students' view of nature of science

Date

2015-09-23

Authors

Kottova, Alena

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the nature, scope, and significance of a new pedagogical approach to teaching of views on nature of science (VNOS) to high school students. Educational approaches based on teaching ‘correct’ VNOS continue to be dominated by the epistemology of logical empiricism and, as I will point out, these approaches are inadequate to address the issues of VNOS. I assert and the findings presented in this dissertation offer evidence that students’ VNOS are dynamic and context-based. In this research I used filmmaking to explore students’ VNOS. High school students, supported by a professional filmmaking crew, completed a short film entitled, The Shadows of Hope; this film explores the use of scientific knowledge in understanding everyday life problems. The filmmaking environment introduced simultaneously a number of contexts in which students’ VNOS were concurrently collected using mixed methods methodology. The results show that contexts sway students’ VNOS and generate a variety of the VNOS for each student. Evidence shows that there is a common, theme-based pattern to individual students’ set of VNOS. The variety of expressed VNOS seemed natural to the students, with no registered discomfort. However, in this study a contrast between students’ VNOS and their ‘school-based’ understanding of science also became apparent. This is evidence that cognitive dissonance is not sufficient to explain the full spectrum of ways in which students learn, deepen knowledge and arrive to conceptual change. I assert that including cognitive contextual expansion in our understanding of conceptual change is essential to provide a framework that allows to integrate cognitive diversity into the theory of learning, reflecting a perhaps more natural way human mind works. The project’s findings offer evidence that students’ VNOS deepened and expanded through filmmaking; students arrived to a more examined and mature VNOS while enjoying the activity of making a film. There is evidence that cooperation with a professional team provided students with a feeling of respect and pride. Filmmaking offers a robust way of learning, based on collaborative work that enlivens a large number of learning-enhancing activities. Additional resources and a Brief Guide For Teachers are added to this text to support teachers in adopting filmmaking as a unique pedagogical method.

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Keywords

nature of science, NOS, filmmaking, teaching methods, mixed methods, film, students views on NOS, writing in science, narrative in science education, storytelling as adaptation, screenplay in education, pragmatism in science education, context in science education, dynamic multiple views of science, cognitive dissonance, cognitive diversity, conceptual change, cognitive contextual expansion, wisdom

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