27 SES 06 B, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
This paper addresses the issue of graphical representations in the teaching-learning process. We investigate the case of earthquakes graphical representations. Indeed, the Earth shakes often, causing sometimes main damages. The March 2011 earthquake off Japan and the December 2004 off Indonesia are recent and impressive samples. The massive media coverage of such events places people in front of many graphical representations explicative of seismic phenomena. At the same time, earthquakes are a science education issue where graphical representations are put at stake. In this context, our case study at grade 5 aims at characterizing what students may learn of earthquakes with the study of graphical representations. We then compare this with news graphical representations and scientific graphical representations.
Our work is situated within the theoretical framework of the JATD or Joint Action Theory in Didactics (Sensevy & Mercier, 2007; Sensevy, 2011a, 2011b). In the JATD, teaching-learning practices are modelled as learning games (Sensevy, op. cit.). Learning games are knowledge games where teachers and students act together but from asymmetric positions. They both win if the knowledge at stake is learned. We account for the unfolding of learning games by the means of a system of theoretical categories, notably the didactic contract and milieu (Brousseau, 1997; Chevallard, 1992; Sensevy, op. cit.). Knowledges at stake in learning games are referred to social knowledge practices modelled as epistemic games (Santini & Loquet, 2011). The comparison between learning games and epistemic games allow us in fine to specify what learning might occurr from the didactic action.
Within the JATD, we consider representations as public (Hacking, 1983). Concerning earthquakes, graphical representations are used in classrooms mainly to render present what is not present. On the one hand, they bring some unknownness and uncertainty in the didactic milieu (Kerneis, 2010). On the other hand, graphical representations also participate to the ecology of didactic actions in their determinations (Sensevy, 2011c). Moreover, these two didactic roles of graphical representations are all the more important since representations are not accurate to nature but to current knowledge (Fleck, 1979). Considering these points, and in regard to the mass media coverage of major earthquakes, we address the subsidiary issue of the uses a teacher can have of graphical representations originated from the news.
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