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DEEP CONCEPTUAL LEARNING IN SCIENCE EDUCATION

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DEEP CONCEPTUAL LEARNING IN SCIENCE EDUCATION

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

 

1.1 Background of the study

Not since the reaction to the launching of Sputnik has U.S. science and mathematics education been at a greater potential inflection point. The Common Core mathematics standards and Next Generation Science Standards presage dramatic shifts in curricula for less breadth and more depth, rejecting superficial coverage for more profound learning (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010; NGSS Lead States, 2013; NRC, 2012; Rillero & Padgett, 2012). These standards seek to dislodge the prevailing curricula consisting of broad survey type courses characterized as one-inch deep and one-mile wide. Instead, fewer key concepts have been identified and students delve much deeper into these concepts, with the mantra “less is more.”

 

With a strong majority of states adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), there is potential to greatly impact children and schools (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2016). While the newer Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) currently has fewer implementing states (National Association for the State Boards of Education,

 

 

© 2016 Electronic Journal of Science Education (Southwestern University/Texas Christian University) Retrieved from http://ejse.southwestern.edu

2014), these standards, however, are already influencing science education thought, curriculum, and practice (Hoffman & Turner, 2015). The prequel for NGSS is the book A Framework for K12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (NRC, 2012). According to the Framework, K-12 science education “emphasizes discrete facts with a focus on breadth over depth, and does not provide students with engaging opportunities to experience how science is actually done” (p. 1).

 

International comparisons indicating the U.S. lags in mathematics and science achievement informed CCSS and NGSS. U.S. educators tend to focus more on mathematical procedures with less concern if students understand the underlying concepts (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999; Stigler & Hiebert, 2009). “International studies have also shown that U.S. math and science textbooks cover comparatively more topics with less depth of coverage and development” (National Science Board, 2002, p 30).

 

Focusing on fewer key concepts is an opening to make learning deeper. The challenge, however, is to avoid making “less coverage” become a reduced amount of learning. To be sure, there have been many standards and curricula revisions in mathematics and science education. The focus on reducing the coverage of content and delving deeper, however, is a fundamental shift from previous reforms and past professional development efforts. Producing deeper learning may be a profound transformation for many U.S. teachers.

 

1.2 Statement of the problem

There is wide agreement that professional development should be a key part of implementing the new standards (Drits-Esser & Stark, 2015). New models of professional development have been developed that move past a correcting-teacher-deficit focus. One leading model is the Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002). In this empirically supported model, the Personal Domain is an important determinant of teacher action that is strongly influenced by the Domain of Practice and the Domain of Consequences. Conversely, the Personal Domain influences the Domain of Practice; beliefs and attitudes influence the enacted methods and content of teaching. Since deep conceptual learning (DCL) is a key aspect of new standards, it is important to develop insights into teacher and educational administrator views of DCL.

1.3 Objectives of the study

  1. To understand the impact of deep conceptual learning in the development of science education
  2. To understand the relationship between deep conceptual learning and science education development

 

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the impact of deep conceptual learning in the development of science education
  2. What is the relationship between deep conceptual learning and science education development

 

1.5 Research Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant relationship between deep conceptual learning and science education in Nigeria

H1: There is a significant relationship between deep conceptual learning and science education in Nigeria

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