Children making sense of physical phenomena
Sammanfattning: This thesis concerns the activity of expressing understanding with words. The overall aim is to explore, analyse and describe how 64 children aged 6, 10 and 14 expressed their understanding of certain physical phenomena in reflective dialogues. In the dialogues, the children were asked to reflect over expressions which they had used to explain their conception of the problem. Four studies were conducted that concern different aspects of the activity of expressing understanding with words. Different parts of the interplay between language use and knowledge formation were analysed and described. The results indicate that the children used the same expressions with a number of meanings. They dealt with the ambiguity of meaning in different ways, as well as displaying varying degrees of awareness of how they used language to make sense. A variation also appeared in the ways that the children used language to approach content matter. In order to make sense of content matter and reflect over the function of language use, certain conditions appeared to be more critical than others. Drawing on the results of the investigation, implications for pedagogical practice are discussed.
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