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From Familiar Analogs to Higher Order Thinking: Effects of Training Scientists in the Use of Teaching Analogies


Petchey, Sara; Niebert, Kai (2022). From Familiar Analogs to Higher Order Thinking: Effects of Training Scientists in the Use of Teaching Analogies. In: 5. Tagung Fachdidaktiken, Locarno, 8 April 2022 - 9 April 2022. DFA-SUPSI, 459-465.

Abstract

The pedagogical training of science graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) could be a key element of change in the teaching practices of university STEM courses over time. Our course, Teaching Science at University (TSAU), focuses on university science pedagogies and centers assignment work around consideration of student prior knowledge and interests. Here we use qualitative content analysis to evaluate 75 course participants’ assignments on analogy design, specifically their choice of science concept and analog and their reflections on the analogy’s learning impact. We found the majority constructed analogies mapping suitably abstract, complex science concepts to familiar, every day, experience-based analogs. Some analogs, though familiar, were nevertheless problematic as they required a technical understanding (e.g. how a copy machine works) before mapping to the science concept (e.g. polymerase chain reaction) could be fruitful. Mapping of the mismatches, where the analogy no longer works, was a new teaching concept for participants and one they saw as valuable. To assess their students’ learning with analogies, two thirds of participants focused on lower-level cognitive tasks like recalling or summarizing scientific content and the rest focused on higher-level thinking such as using the analogy in a new setting or creating an improved version of the analogy. Analogies’ facilitation of greater student critical thinking by the latter group is interesting in the light of research showing most assessment in university science courses focuses on lower cognitive levels such as recall of information. Overall, we found that specific instruction in planned and thorough use of analogies is fruitful, and a structured guide to analogy construction works well for a university audience.

Abstract

The pedagogical training of science graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) could be a key element of change in the teaching practices of university STEM courses over time. Our course, Teaching Science at University (TSAU), focuses on university science pedagogies and centers assignment work around consideration of student prior knowledge and interests. Here we use qualitative content analysis to evaluate 75 course participants’ assignments on analogy design, specifically their choice of science concept and analog and their reflections on the analogy’s learning impact. We found the majority constructed analogies mapping suitably abstract, complex science concepts to familiar, every day, experience-based analogs. Some analogs, though familiar, were nevertheless problematic as they required a technical understanding (e.g. how a copy machine works) before mapping to the science concept (e.g. polymerase chain reaction) could be fruitful. Mapping of the mismatches, where the analogy no longer works, was a new teaching concept for participants and one they saw as valuable. To assess their students’ learning with analogies, two thirds of participants focused on lower-level cognitive tasks like recalling or summarizing scientific content and the rest focused on higher-level thinking such as using the analogy in a new setting or creating an improved version of the analogy. Analogies’ facilitation of greater student critical thinking by the latter group is interesting in the light of research showing most assessment in university science courses focuses on lower cognitive levels such as recall of information. Overall, we found that specific instruction in planned and thorough use of analogies is fruitful, and a structured guide to analogy construction works well for a university audience.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Education
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Uncontrolled Keywords:Analogy, graduate teaching assistant, professional development, embodied cognition, higher-order thinking
Language:English
Event End Date:9 April 2022
Deposited On:02 Feb 2023 16:21
Last Modified:01 Mar 2023 11:28
Publisher:DFA-SUPSI
ISBN:9783033094192
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.33683/dida.22.05.76
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)