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Personal embodied experiences in thermodynamics education
Linköping University.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Didactics)
Linköping University.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Aspects of the role of personal, embodied experiences in science education are discussed and illustrated with examples from empirical research on thermodynamics education. Due to shortcomings of early cognitive science, cognitive approaches to science education research have lost their dominant position. In particular, the surge of socio-cultural perspectives on learning contributes important aspects that have been previously neglected. However, it comes along with the risk of losing sight of the individual’s understanding of taught topics, opening it up to criticism in parallel with how it has been questioned in terms of how complex human behaviour can be understood from the perspective of behaviourism. In contrast, embodied cognition, including the conceptual metaphor framework, could be used to ground conceptual understanding in concrete personal experiences, drawn from human interaction in social and natural environments. Limitations of the reliance on direct personal experiences and enacting activity without purposeful reflection are discussed against the background of Dewey’s writings. Empirical examples are taken from first-graders’ analogical reasoning in relation to shared experiences of thermal phenomena, the use of infrared cameras in justifying energy conservation in dissipative processes, and the employment of conceptual metaphor in thermodynamics problem-solving dialogue. They illustrate this diverse range of aspects on how our understanding of abstract ideas builds on concrete, personal experiences, but also that this is not achieved in any straight-forward manner.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-262732OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-262732DiVA: diva2:855051
11th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), Helsinki, Finland, 31 Aug-4 Sept
Available from: 2015-09-18 Created: 2015-09-18 Last updated: 2015-09-18

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