STEP* for the Future: Investigating Pedagogical Change in New Approaches to Learning and Teaching in the Knowledge Age

Project Number
OER 18/10 KB

Project Duration
May 2011 - September 2013


Working toward the advancement of teaching is at the hear of our proposed work. We focus on What pedagogical changes are needed to support new approaches to learning and teaching in the Knowledge Age? Describing teachers as ''facilitators'' or ''a guide on the side,'' while accurate, does not address the necessary level of detail for helping teachers to shift the ways in which they support students in their learning. We plan to investigate the ways in which teachers become adept at anticipating and responding to student needs (both in the moment and across longer time intervals), scaffold student participation, and reflect back students' actions to the class in ways that foster explanatory discourse and deep disciplinary understanding. We plan to base our investigative analyses on three critical areas of pedagogical change: (1) working to understand student understanding, (2) developing representational practices for making knowledge and processes visible for reflection, and (3) engaging in pedagogical moves that support students' inquiry. We will center our investigations on the corpus of classroom videos, student artifacts, and representational forms collected in the Ideas First project over the past 5 years. Ideas First is a full two-year Science program co-designed with primary school teachers that has been operating in fifteen Primary 3 and 4 classrooms at Townsville Primary School since 2006. The program is based on the vision of a knowledge building community where students work to advance the science understanding of the classroom community through engaging in research, experimental investigations, and classroom discourse (Scardamalia, 2002). While the main thrust of the proposed work is on exploring pedagogical change in a depthwise manner through the Ideas First project, we also plan take advantage of the analytic power of looking breadth-wise across multiple projects involving new approaches to teaching and learning in the Knowledge Age. Clearly, such an investigation has powerful practical implications for teachers --- and we believe that teachers have much to contribute to conducting such research. Thus, our research methodology involves creating teacher-researcher collaborative sessions that afford Spaces for Teachers' Explorations into Pedagogy (STEP). The STEP method will support teacher inquiry into elements of Knowledge Age classrooms (supported through concrete exemplars coming from Ideas First classrooms). We plan to involve both Singapore teachers and MOE stakeholders. We also intend to work with instructors of NIE courses to see.

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