Pupil-appropriate contexts in science lessons: the relationship between themes, purpose and dialogue

Susan Rodrigues

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Teaching and learning science through the use of familiar contexts has been advocated for several decades. Many take the use of context in science lessons to mean the use of resource materials that involve common scenarios or themes, or activities. This paper reviews a lesson identified by a teacher as a lesson taught in context. The data collected for this lesson include a complement of videotape of the teacher and class, retrospective interviews with the pupils and teacher and interviewer notes. The data help to show how aspects of the lesson provided pupil-appropriate contexts to teach and learn science. The data showed that using familiar themes does not automatically result in the science being taught in context. Aspects required included a shared view of purpose and changes in the nature of dialogue between participants. In addition teaching and learning in context requires an opportunity to compare and contrast pupils’ personal accounts with science views, rather than simply changing the theme of the lesson. The paper also discusses factors that limited the lesson by promoting the development of inert, naive and ritual knowledge
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)173-182
    Number of pages10
    JournalResearch in Science and Technological Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Science education
    • Teaching
    • Learning


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