Perspectives on Conceptual Change : An Exploration of the Intentional Context and the Phenomenographic Situation

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik

Abstract:

Conceptual change is one of the most important influences in modern educational research and this theoretical framework can be used for empirical research aimed at improving our common knowledge about learning as well as developing new theories and practices within the education system. In its very basic meaning, conceptual change can be explained as a person who during the course of the learning experience changes their initial conception of a phenomenon (such as a object or a concept) from one specific point of view to another. The aim of this study is to map out the differences and similarities between two seemingly opposite movements within today’s pedagogical research community. Within phenomenography a constitutionalist approach to learning is used, which means that the conceptions formed by students are considered to be an internal representation of the individual’s interpretation of their own knowledge in relation to their surroundings. The intentional analytical approach suggests that contextualisation is necessary for conceptual change to take place, for the student to be able to interpret the assignment or task at hand and then incorporate that in meaningful activity that will lead to a successful learning process. Both the intentional and the phenomenographic approach agree that it is the meaning of a task that is important in the learning situation, but the differences lie in the ways of distinguishing what this meaning consists of as well as the means of finding out what the meaning is to an individual.

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