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Hwang, S. W., Roth, W.-M., & Kim, M. (2009). Development of (scientific) concepts in children’s learning geometry: A Vygotskian, body-centered approach to literacy. In M. Kim, S. W. Hwang, & A.-L. Tan (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Science Education Conference 2009 (pp. 968-984). Singapore: National Institute of Education.
The “construction of meaning” tends to be the main pedagogical goal for the teaching of science. Yet, the metaphor of construction, which is also used to theorize the development of word-meaning, articulates only some among the different possible forms of knowing. The purpose of this study is to show a more comprehensive approach to concepts development than exists in Vygotsky’s framework of word-meaning and its logo (word) centric approach. That is, this study takes Vygotsky’s theory of word-meaning and develops it to include bodily forms of knowing and learning to constitute a more holistic approach to scientific literacy and its acquisition. We draw on a model that we had proposed as a new way of understanding the nature of concepts and show how our extended Vygotskian approach allows us to explain children’s concepts development. We present a concrete case study that exhibits the trajectory of conceptual understanding and exemplify the central role of the body in making connections between different forms of experiences, thereby leading to the (initial) formation of the concept. We conclude that the extended framework of word-meaning allows rendering pedagogical principles that encompasses students’ everyday experience of the world as the condition for concepts development.
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