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    Bridging the Epistemic Divide: A Design Based Research Project on Laboratory Work at Upper Second Level in Ireland

    O'Neill, Natalie (2022) Bridging the Epistemic Divide: A Design Based Research Project on Laboratory Work at Upper Second Level in Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Practical work in science education has been the subject of much international criticism over the last four decades for its use of recipe-style didactic instruction. Recent advances in education policy and academic literature have not been translated into practice in the science classroom. The Irish biology curriculum, first introduced at upper secondary level two decades ago, explicitly states that practical lessons should be enquiry-based, and that they should follow a scientific method of enquiry, however scoping stage investigations conducted at the beginning of this research indicate that neither of these two stipulations are enacted in practice. The Design Based Research methodology used in this study addresses the policy-practice divide by accommodating iterative research cycles of design and development of an educational artefact, each preceded by a comprehensive literature review and followed by evaluation of the artefact in two target settings – the senior cycle biology classroom with in-service teachers, and the third level biology laboratory with pre-service teachers. The resulting artefact, the Framework for Teaching Enquiry Activities, is supported by two further research outputs, a theory of enquiry specific to practical activities, grounded in the work of John Dewey, and a programme for professional development grounded in the work of Etienne Wenger. The findings add new knowledge to the field of science education in terms of articulating the complexity of enquiry as a pedagogical construct, and of presenting a form of enquiry that bridges the epistemic divide between policy and practice. Within the epistemology proposed here for the Irish biology curriculum, is a pragmatic, future-oriented approach to knowledge acquisition that promotes teachers as curriculum makers. This timely research has the potential not only to inform upcoming changes to senior cycle science curricula, but also to support teachers in making the transition to a new, more equitable, signature pedagogy.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Epistemic Divide; Design Based Research Project; Laboratory Work; Upper Second Level; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 17278
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 11:33
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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