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A structural view on conceptual change: Integration, differentiation, and contextualization as fundamental aspects of individual meaning making
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Conceptual development and conceptual change processes are described by a longitudinal study on preschool children’s conception of the earth. Conceptual change is often described as a causal process in which changes in an embraced system of beliefs result in a new system of beliefs. A normative line of research has been dominating the research field of conceptual change. There has been a search for specific conceptions that are missing in the learners’ reasoning or that prevent conceptual change from occur. Here, the learner’s capacity of reasoning is focused. The children’s reasoning is described in its own right (Driver & Easley, 1978). It is argued that conceptual change is to be understood as an intentional activity with regard to the learner, that is, what the learner is doing when trying to understand something.

Children were interviewed annually from four to six years of age. There were 37 children participating, of which 29 were followed during all three years. The children were interviewed about their conceptions of the earth.

The results directs the focus of conceptual change from specific conceptions to structural changes. The children processed a lot of conflicting information. However, there does not appear to be any specific conflict that causes the process of conceptual change to occur. Rather, conceptual change is about the reorganization of the sum total of beliefs and to find adequate contexts to which they relate. Conceptual change involves a simultaneous processing of information and complex conception as well as revisions and changes at a model level, and all of this processing is related to contexts for description and explanation. The result also indicates some core stability in reasoning over the course of the investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University , 2013. , 65 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 26
Keyword [en]
conceptual development, conceptual change, coherence, contextualization
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97267ISBN: 978-91-7447-827-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97267DiVA: diva2:676360
Public defence
2014-01-10, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2004-1521
Note

At the time of the doctoral defence the folowing papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript; Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-12-19 Created: 2013-12-05 Last updated: 2013-12-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A longitudinal study on the processes of conceptual change in a four to six years old child
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A longitudinal study on the processes of conceptual change in a four to six years old child
2013 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
Conceptual change, contextualization, longitudinal study, qualitative analysis
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97265 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-12-05 Created: 2013-12-05 Last updated: 2013-12-09
2. Coherence and contextualization in the process of conceptual change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coherence and contextualization in the process of conceptual change
2013 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
conceptual development, conceptual change, coherence, contextualization
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97263 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2013-12-05 Created: 2013-12-05 Last updated: 2014-11-24
3. A Structural View on the Emergence of a Conception: Conceptual Change as Radical Reconstruction of Contexts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Structural View on the Emergence of a Conception: Conceptual Change as Radical Reconstruction of Contexts
2010 (English)In: Science Education, ISSN 0036-8326, E-ISSN 1098-237X, Vol. 94, no 4, 640-664 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conceptual change is often described as a causal process in which changes in an embraced system of beliefs result in a new system of beliefs. Here, it is argued that conceptual change is better understood as an intentional activity with regard to the learner, that is, what the learner is doing when trying to understand something. Children were interviewed every year during a period of 3 years from their ages of 4-6 years of age. In the study, there were 37 children participating, of which 29 were followed during all 3 years. They were asked to tell about their beliefs about the earth, and their developing understanding is described. The results show that in the conceptual changes the children's main concern was to restructure the often vast amount of knowledge they possessed. This reconstruction is described as a simultaneous reconstruction of conceptual contexts as well as contexts for their application. This also directs the focus of conceptual change from specific conceptions to structural changes.

National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-49214 (URN)10.1002/sce.20377 (DOI)000278957200003 ()
Note
authorCount :2Available from: 2010-12-13 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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