Approach and Training

Design-based research (Anderson & Shattuck, 2012) is used to develop science pedagogies in which subject-specific verbal, visual and symbolic literacy are infused into the essence of science teaching and learning. In design-based research, both the development of an intervention and its enactment are studied to explore and develop theories of learning and teaching. This approach is characterized as formative research in complex real world settings that engages in iterative cycles of design and implementation, with data collected to inform subsequent design, then reflection on the design and its outcomes to revise and develop coherent theory and directly improve educational practice (Schleppegrell, 2013). Teachers of year10 science and 11 and 12 chemistry, physics and biology in four schools with significant populations of educationally disadvantaged students will participate. In each school we will work with one year 10 science class and one class in each of physics, chemistry and biology in both years 11 and 12. Teachers and researchers work collaboratively to progressively derive principled bases for developing student learning about and through the verbal, visual and symbolic representations that construct and communicate scientific understanding as they iteratively plan and implement learning experiences on selected topics in classroom programs.

Informing this preparation and implementation, commonly used learning materials for the selected topics (e.g. textbooks, videos, news and popular science media) and school-based and public examination questions and sample responses will be analysed to develop an account of the language, image and symbolic resources students need to comprehend and compose including how they vary across science subjects and grade levels. This iterative cycle of design, implementation, data analysis and interpretation will occur progressively over the four phases in the project.