Claim 3: More Research on Conceptual Change Is in the Area of Physics Compared to Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Science

Not surprisingly, there were more studies completed in the area of physics compared to the other science disciplines because of its long history in science education research and the complex, counterintuitive, and abstract nature of its concepts. However, as one of the major science disciplines in elementary and secondary schools, relatively low percentage of studies were carried out for improving school biology instruction and developing teachers' expertise in knowing students' knowledge of biology in Taiwan which might need more attention from science educators (See Table 5.4). In addition, we noticed that there seems to be more physics education researchers than researchers of any other subjects. Although we do not have the exact number of researchers in physics education, we suspect that there are many current research investigating students' misconceptions and developing instructional materials and assessment items for physics (such as mechanics, light, and electricity), so the results can be easily compared across different cultures and countries. That might be one of the possible reasons why we found research in physics education dominating science education research.

Claim 4: Most Published Studies on Conceptual Change Relied on Multiple Data Collection Methods

for Triangulation Purposes

As expected, most of the research used paper-and-pencil and interview methods to collect research data from 1982 to 2012 regardless of where the research took place. We also found that higher percentages of qualitative studies appeared in the international journals whereas higher percentages of studies using both qualitative and quantitative methods were found in the articles by Taiwanese authors. The use of the triangulation approach allows researchers to provide better quality, more richness, and fuller explanations of students' complex learning processes than is afforded by single methods alone (Cohen and Manion 2000).

Claim 5: Major Teaching Strategy Changes

from Conceptual Conflict, Analogy to Multimedia

The change of the trend of teaching strategy in international journals is obvious. Conceptual conflict was the main teaching strategy early on, and it changed to “analogy, model and modeling,” and then to multimedia. The trend in Taiwan was not as clear. It seems that researchers in Taiwan preferred the teaching methods of conceptual conflict and multimedia. One of the reasons might be that the Taiwanese government continuously allocated a considerable budget to support the development of e-learning via both scholarly and industrial research (Chang et al. 2009). There also appeared to be ample evidence from numerous studies that conceptual change instruction was more efficient than traditional instruction (Duit and Treagust 2012). However, is any teaching strategy more efficient than the other? Why is the trend of teaching strategy in Taiwan different from the international trend? These questions should be further examined by considering the nature of learners' conceptions, the theoretical backgrounds adopted, and cultural differences. Large-scale programs for improving the quality of science instruction should also be implemented in the near future.

Claim 6: Continuous Effort on Research on Conceptual Change in Science Learning

As a non-English-speaking country, Taiwan outperformed other countries in terms of research produced and published on conceptual change. Researchers in Taiwan should be continuously making contributions to this field and not only investigating theoretical frameworks but also taking sociocultural perspectives into account when conducting research in Taiwan. As Chiu and Duit (2011) pointed out, globalization is not a new movement. However, there is the danger of just exchanging local (indigenous) ideas for science conceptions; as a result, one may lose one's cultural identity and become alienated from one's indigenous culture. On the one hand, we concur that the perspective of globalization provides new insights into how science should be taught and what should be emphasized (Chiu and Duit 2011). On the other hand, we present the caveat that cultural and historical perspectives, which have not been taken into account in general thus far, should be considered as a way to guide us to conduct and implement the studies into practices.

Claim 7: Two Stages of Conceptual Change Research Trend

Based on our analysis of international and national articles on conceptual change, two stages of conceptual change research were identified: Stage 1 is incubation and Stage 2 is development in terms of quantity of publications during a specific period of time. For international articles, the period of Stage 1 was from 1982 to 1992 and Stage 2 from 1993 to 2012. For articles from science education researchers in Taiwan, the period of Stage 1 was from 1992 to 1997 and Stage 2 from 1998 to 2012. Taiwan started research on conceptual change 10 years later than the international research trend. However, starting in 1999, researchers in Taiwan generated quality publications that showed a high interest in this area. The special issue in International Journal of Science Education (Chiu et al. 2007) described the background and the process that the researchers in Taiwan spend our time, effort, and human and financial resources to conduct the National Science Concept Learning Study to catch up with the international studies on conceptual change.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >