27 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session, Chaired by Convenors of NW 27
One of the currently most monitored characteristics of instruction in the Czech Republic is its quality. Pupils are strongly expected to transfer the acquired knowledge and skills to various situations, especially to situations which they can encounter in real life. Therefore instruction puts emphasis on the development of key competencies. Key competencies can be developed through learning tasks that require higher cognitive processes (see below), which were investigated in the past as well. The aim of our paper is to review the methods used in research on learning tasks in primary and lower secondary Science instruction realized in the Czech Republic during last 25 years to present and to summarize selected results. Our paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the issue of learning tasks used in Science instruction. We believe it is useful to review research on learning tasks and make a knowledge about the possibilities how to handle the particular components of key competencies (e.g. higher cognitive questions).
Key competencies have been included in the Czech curricula (as well as in other countries) since 2005 as one of new general aims of education. Weinert (2001, p. 53) sees key competencies as „complex systems of knowledge, beliefs, and action tendencies, that are constructed from well-organized domain-specific expertise, basic skills, generalized attitudes, and converging cognitive styles“.
One of the most suitable concepts for investigating the acquisition of key competencies in instruction is opportunities to learn (McDonnell, 1995). The quantity and quality of such opportunities determines the level of activation of pupils in the instruction. Opportunities to learn can be regarded as „potentials of lesson structures and situations for student learning processes“ (Seidel & Prenzel, 2006, p. 229). The situations are based around learning tasks that can be considered the core activity for developing key competencies in instruction.
Learning tasks, questions and their cognitive level
The definition of learning tasks in our approach refers to Doyle’s definition of academic tasks which posits that they are „the products that students are expected to produce, the operations that students are expected to use to generate those products, and the resources available to students while they are generating the products” (Doyle, 1983, p. 161). Learning tasks are mostly assigned in the form of teacher’s questions.
We define a teacher question in the classroom settings as an instructional stimulus that conveys the content elements the pupils are to learn and directions regarding what they are to do and how they are to do it (c. f. Cotton, 1988).
The mostly used task and question classification systems are based around the type of relationship between the cognitive level of a question and the level of students’ thinking (Gall, 1970).
According to Wine (1979, p. 14), lower cognitive questions are those which „ask the student merely to recall verbatim or in his/her own words material previously read or taught by the teacher“. These questions are also referred to in the literature as fact, closed, direct, recall, and knowledge questions (Cotton, 1988). Wine (ibid.) defined higher cognitive questions as those which „ask the student to mentally manipulate bits of information previously learned to create an answer or to support an answer with logically reasoned evidence“. These questions are also called open-ended, interpretive, evaluative, inquiry, inferential, and synthesis questions (Cotton, 1988).
It has been proven that higher level questions during instruction have a positive effect on student achievement (Redfield & Rousseau, 1981, p. 241). We suppose that especially demanding learning tasks can support higher cognitive processes necessary for developing key competencies (c. f. Rheinberg & Vollmeyer, 2000).
Cotton, K. (1988). Classroom Questioning [online]. Retrieved from http://rsd.schoolwires.com/145410515152938173/lib/145410515152938173/Classroom_Questioning_by_Cotton.pdf Doyle, W. (1983). Academic work. Review of educational research, 53(2), 159–199. Gall, M. D. (1970). The use of questions in teaching. Review of educational research, 40(5), 707–721. McDonnell, L. M. (1995). Opportunity to learn as a research concept and a policy instrument. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 17(3), 305–322. Redfield, D. L., & Rousseau, E. W. (1981). A meta-analysis of experimental research on teacher questioning behavior. Review of educational research, 51(2), 237–245. Rheinberg, F., & Vollmeyer, R. (2000). Sachinteresse und leistungsthematische Herausforderung – Zwei verschiedenartige Motivationskomponenten und ihr Zusammenwirken beim Lernen. In U. Schiefele & K. P. Wild (Eds.), Interesse und Lernmotivation: Untersuchungen zu Entwicklung, Förderung und Wirkung (pp. 145–161). Münster, Germany: Waxmann. Seidel, T. & Prenzel, M. (2006). Stability of teaching patterns in physics instruction: Findings from a video study. Learning and Instruction, 16(3), 228–240. Weinert, F. E. (2001). Concept of competence: A conceptual clarification. In D. S. Rychen & L. H. Salganik (Eds.), Defining and selecting key competencies (pp. 45–66). Seattle: Hogrefe & Huber. Winne, P. H. (1979). Experiments relating teachers' use of higher cognitive questions to student achievement. Review of Educational Research, 49(1), 13–49.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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