Epistemic practices and thinking in science

Fostering teachers’ development in scientific argumentation

Authored by: Sibel Erduran , Merce Garcia-Mila

The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Teaching Thinking

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415747493
eBook ISBN: 9781315797021
Adobe ISBN: 9781317752301


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In this chapter, we will review the role of epistemic practices of science in science education, in particular in relation to teachers’ learning of argumentation, an example epistemic practice in science. Epistemic practices in science could involve a range of knowledge production and evaluation processes such as coordination of theory and evidence, and making sense of patterns in data. Epistemic practices in science education refer to those cognitive and discursive activities that engage learners in the knowledge construction and evaluation processes of science. Conventionally in school science, students’ engagement in epistemic practices of science and in argumentation in particular has been scarce. Despite years of reform across the world to improve science teaching and learning, the epistemic aspects of science teaching and learning continue to be of concern to many science education researchers (e.g. Chinn & Malhotra, 2002; Jimenez-Aleixandre, Bugallo-Rodriguez, & Duschl, 2000; Kaya, Erduran, & Cetin, 2012; Kelly & Takao, 2002; Sandoval & Reiser, 2004). Argumentation as the process of justification of knowledge claims with evidence is an instance of epistemic practices of science (Erduran, & Jimenez-Aleixandre, 2007) including the articulation of the role of subject knowledge in science (Cetin, Erduran, & Kaya, 2010).

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