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Classroom meaning making with text: Practical epistemology analysis of lab work instructions
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (SMED)
Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Curriculum Studies. (SMED)
Uppsala University, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Curriculum Studies. (SMED)
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

 In this article, a method for investigating the role of texts in student meaning making is developed. A central methodological standpoint in the article is that texts get their meaning in encounters with the users and it is shown how this can be studied by using practical epistemology analysis. The practical epistemology approach is combined with a transactional theory of reading, a theory that puts emphasis on the contributions of both text and the reader in the two-way, dynamic process of reading.

The texts analyzed empirically in this study are laboratory instructions. The empirical material is made up of video recordings from a Science Education class in year 7 and 8, doing laboratory work from the written instructions. On many occasions in practical work, the laboratory guide plays an important role for the students’ activities and the opportunities for learning they get. Instructional texts are often supposed to be easy to understand and unproblematic to use. However, by focusing on different problematic situations that may arise when students are expected to follow laboratory instructions it is possible to discuss the different meanings that can arise in the encounters between student and text.

In laboratory work, many more actions than those comprised in the instructional text are necessarily performed. Consequently, the way students are able to make the instructions intelligible will direct their further meaning making. With analyses of practical epistemology we can show that students need to know the procedures, certain attentiveness and to re-actualize relevant knowledge.




Keyword [en]
science education, learning, meaning making, laboratory work, reading
National Category
Research subject
Curriculum Studies; Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121390OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-121390DiVA: diva2:305173
Available from: 2010-03-22 Created: 2010-03-22 Last updated: 2016-05-15
In thesis
1. Erfarenhet och sociokulturella resurser: Analyser av elevers lärande i naturorienterande undervisning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Erfarenhet och sociokulturella resurser: Analyser av elevers lärande i naturorienterande undervisning
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis contributes to the knowledge about the role of sociocultural resources in students’ learning in Science Education. In the analyses, both individual experiences and situation are taken into account. Different sociocultural resources – the teacher, artefacts and texts – that students encounter in educational settings are focused with the aim to study what role they play for which meaning making is made possible and relevant. To study these encounters, a pragmatist approach called practical epistemology analysis i.e. an analysis of what students use as relevant information, valid questions and relevant attentiveness – is used and advanced. The empirical material consists of video recordings from Science Education classrooms in Swedish compulsory school.

The first paper is an introduction to the line of work subsequently performed. In the second paper, a method for analysing the role of teaching for students’ meaning making – epistemological moves analysis – is developed and illustrated. This method focuses on those actions of the teacher that have a function of influencing what direction students’ learning takes. In the third paper, the practical epistemology approach is applied in order to clarify, within a sociocultural understanding of learning, the role of the interplay between students’ prior experiences and the use of artefacts in students’ meaning making. In the fourth paper, the practical epistemology approach is applied as a method for investigating the role of instructional texts in laboratory settings for students’ meaning making.

The thesis shows how individual continuity can be understood and analysed within a sociocultural perspective on learning. The developed methods make it possible to study learning as constituted in action without ascribing teachers, artefacts or texts a pre-determined meaning prior to their use in a practice. The results show that the way sociocultural resources are made intelligible by the students shapes the conditions for further meaning making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. 90 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 56
learning, meaning making, pragmatism, epistemology, science education, laboratory work, teaching
National Category
Didactics Pedagogy
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-121392 (URN)978-91-554-7760-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-07, Gunnar Johansson-salen, Blåsenhus (14:K120), von Kraemers allé 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-04-16 Created: 2010-03-23 Last updated: 2010-06-04Bibliographically approved

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Lidar, MalenaAlmqvist, JonasÖstman, Leif
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