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The science classroom is the location of complex interactions between students, teacher, curriculum, and environment. These interactions can lead to conflict where the various factors pertaining to students, teacher, curriculum, and environment are at odds. Interest in these types of conflicts has led to numerous studies of classroom processes including those concerned with gender, ethnicity, religion, and language (e.g., Fraser, 1989). Worldview is a factor of more recent interest to researchers and is at an early stage of methodological development and nascent investigation (Cobern, 1991c). Pertaining to the classroom, worldview research focuses on the fundamental beliefs held by teachers and students, and embodied in science curricula. It is supported by the conviction that "scientific knowledge and practices must be interpreted within specific social contexts" (Shymansky & Kyle, 1991, p. 2) which I take to include the context of cognitive culture. The research objective is to gain a better understanding both of worldview variation across a spectrum of students, teachers, and curricula, and of the interaction among worldviews in learning situations.


SLCSP Paper # 105

AKA: Breadth vs. Depth: A Comparison of Student and Professor Conceptualizations of Nature

Published Citation

Cobern, William. "Different Perspectives on the Natural World: Biology Professors and Their Students." National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Cambridge, MA: 1992.