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Title: What Epistemological Resources Affect Chemistry Teachers’ Sense of "What Worked"
Teachers’ sense of “what is taking place with respect to knowledge” drives their perspective on “what works” and “what is likely to work” in their classroom context. Scholarship by Hammer, Russ and many others indicates that this “sense” is very often context-sensitive and may be productively modeled as a local coalescence of small-grained epistemological resources. Presented here is an investigation of the epistemological resources contributing to high school chemistry teachers’ framing of “what works” in their learning environment. Teacher reflections are unpacked and characterized for classroom information noticed and responded to when considering “what worked” during the 2019-2020 school year. Preliminary findings suggest epistemological resources guiding “what worked” often align with a view of knowledge as propagated stuff. Thus, implying that teachers’ reasoning about “what works” is guided by how well knowledge is transferred to students. Also present was evidence that epistemological resources aligned to views of knowledge as fabricated stuff were activated. The perspective that knowledge is inferred or developed from other knowledge, rather than passed from an authority figure, aligns well with reform efforts that emphasize student sensemaking. This study is part of a larger program in which a teacher-researcher collaborative adapts and refines evidence-based curricular materials for an undergraduate chemistry course for use in high school. These materials are structured around scaffolded progressions of big ideas (e.g., energy, electrostatic and bonding interactions) that build in complexity as students make sense of increasingly complex phenomena. Ongoing improvement of transformed materials is dependent upon the ability to initiate and stabilize a sense of “what works” consistent with sensemaking aims.  more » « less
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2021 NARST International Meeting
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National Science Foundation
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