coherence papers for article refinement

April 10, 2007

As i am already using this space as my scientific activity log-file, i decided to motivate myself a bit and refer some articles i must consider in the refinement of my paper, which i need to resubmit to the Journal of Learning Sciences by May.

The development of conceptual coherence related to seasonal changes by inquiry with Young Scientist learning environment.

This paper addresses conceptual coherence development with complex learning environment, and i was suggested to bring in more the p-prims approach which is at finer grain size.

The thoughts which will be usable relate with the Hammer paper:

Previously i wrote:
Vosniadou et al. (2001) suggested that learning science requires the radical reorganization of existing conceptual structures and the construction of new, qualitatively different representations of phenomena. From this perspective, the main purpose of instruction should be to help students abandon or alter their own conceptions in favor of presently accepted ones (Strike & Posner, 1992; Mortimer, 1995).

Now i will add The Elby’s refinement of preexisting material reference.

Previously i wrote:
The co-existance of multiple alternative conceptual frameworks that can be activated by certain contexts has been also discussed. Caravita and Halldén (1994) assumed that learning often means aquiring an alternative way of conceptualizing the world. This does not presuppose that a learner should necessarily replace an existing conception, but rather to increase one’s total repertoire of conceptualizations of the surrounding world. Caravita and Halldén (1994) described conceptual development as a process of differentiation and decentralisation, where one conceptual framework is not abandoned in favour of a new one, but the student can select from among different frameworks depending on the situation. According to this viewpoint, introducing several explanations related to different contextual aspects of the phenomena and their interrelations becomes important for the construction of more complete understandings.Halldén (1997) assumed that conceptions are embedded within more or less coherent wholes, and the difficulty confronting the learner is to comprehend a conception embedded within an unknown coherent whole that is not presently known.

It seems the conceptual framework term is too larger and i should use the p-prim idea instead of conceptions like Hallden calls them, and differentiate it from the framework ideas. Also i need to define what is framework and what is phenomenological primitive.

Previously i wrote:
The definitions of conceptual coherence often combine the cohesiveness and consistency properties of conceptual frameworks. This paper considers conceptual coherence as the students’ ability to explain the phenomenon consistently and cohesively with one or several related conceptual frameworks in different contextual situations. Consistency is defined as a property of conceptual frameworks indicating that students’ ideas of a certain phenomenon are stable, independently of the variable meaning that depends on the viewpoint of the explanation. Cohesiveness, on the other hand, is the property characterizing inherent relationships among concepts in one conceptual framework or the links among several related conceptual frameworks.

Again, it seems if i change here to phenomenological primitives idea, cohesiveness can be explained between the primitives in one context. But consistency would be the activation of same set of primitives same way in various contexts. It seems the idea what i had does not change in the light of Hammer’s paper.

Student resources for learning introductory physics
David Hammer
Phys. Educ. Res., Am. J. Phys. Suppl., Vol. 68, No. 7, July 2000

The perspective of misconceptions cannot explain the contextual sensitivities (Smith, diSessa, Roschelle, 1993/94; Hammer, 1996) of student reasoning such as the empirical fact that substantively equivalent questions, posed in different ways, can evoke different responses from the same student (Steinberg and Sabella, 1997).

Often, as may happen with an unfamiliar problem, you have active at the same time multiple ways of thinking about a problem that conflict with each other, and much of the work you need to do is to reconcile that conflict.

Thinking about the sunlight problem, for example, activates many resources at once; much of the challenge is to bring these activations into coherence. This differs from the notion of a misconception, according to which a student’s incorrect reasoning results from a single cognitive unit, namely the conception, which is either consistent or inconsistent with expert understanding.

Clement, Brown, and Zeitsman (1989) highlighted the existence of productive resources in students’ understanding, noting that not all preconceptions are misconceptions. They described anchoring conceptions in which student understanding typically aligns well with physicists’ and how these
may serve as targets of bridging analogies to help students apply that understanding in other contexts.

A difficulty represents a tendency to misapply resources, and misconceptions represent robust patterns of misapplication.

Minstrell (1989) chose facet and raw intuition, DiSessa (1993) has pursued a technically more precise model, beginning with his account of phenomenological primitives or p-prims as one form of cognitive structure.

D. Hammer, More than misconceptions: Multiple perspectives on student knowledge and reasoning, and an appropriate role for education research, Am. J. Phys. 64(10), 1316–1325, 1996.

J. Smith, A. diSessa, and J. Roschelle, Misconceptions reconceived: A constructivist analysis of knowledge in transition, J. Learning Sci. 3(2), 115–163, 1993/1994.

R. N. Steinberg and M. S. Sabella, (1997). Performance on multiple-choice diagnostics and complementary exam problems. Phys. Teach. 35(3), 150–155.

J. Clement, D. Brown, and A. Zeitsman, (1989). Not all preconceptions are misconceptions:
Finding anchoring conceptions for grounding instruction on students’ intuitions, Int. J. Sci. Ed. 11, 554–565, 1989.

Minstrell, Teaching science for understanding in Toward the Thinking Curriculum: Current Cognitive Research, edited by L. B. Resnick and L. E. Klopfer ~ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 1989, pp. 129–149.

A. diSessa, Towards an epistemology of physics. Cogn. Instruction 10 (2–3) 105–225 ~1993.

For example, asked to explain why it is hotter in the summer than in the winter, many students will respond that it is because the earth is closer to the sun. The usual interpretation attributes this response to a faulty conception students have formed, by which the earth moves in a highly eccentric
ellipse around the sun, and in some cases this may be the student’s view. An alternative interpretation, however, is that some students do not have this previous conception regarding the cause of the seasons but generate it on the spot.
Asked the question, they conduct a quick search in their knowledge and reasoning for a way to think about it. One of the first resources they identify is the general notion that getting closer to a source increases the intensity of its effect: Closer means stronger.
As a primitive, closer means stronger is a resource productively activated to understand a number of phenomena: The light is more intense closer to the bulb; music is louder closer to the speaker; an odor is more intense closer to its source. Students’ tendency to explain seasons in terms of proximity to the sun may be seen as a faulty activation of this resource, rather than as reflecting a faulty, previously existing conception.

diSessa’s view, the function of an anchoring conception is to activate productive resources, and the function of a bridging analogy is to carry those activations back to the problem at hand.

DiSessa and Sherin developed object structure to improve our technical precision for thinking about what may constitute one form of ‘‘concept.’’
The coordination class of object, for example, consists of particular expectations and strategies for reasoning and obtaining information. That is, to think about X as an object is to expect it to have properties of form, location, permanence, mass in an intuitive sense, and velocity; and it is to expect that one can find out about X through various strategies, such as by looking for it if it is within sight, touching it if within reach, hefting it, and so on.

A. A. diSessa and B. L. Sherin, What changes in conceptual change? Int. J. Sci. Ed. 20 ~10!, 1155–1191 ~1998!.

The different posings of the question activate the same set of primitives but apply them differently.

If, for example, resource is a p-prim, then its activation is highly sensitive to context, and it should be possible to deactivate through manipulations of contexts, such as through bridging analogies or confrontation.

Another possibility is that this resource, when it is fully described, will be another form of cognitive structure, more distributed and constitutional than a p-prim more like a property of the operating system than like a chunk of code, and if this is the case, deactivation may not be an option.

Innovative pedagogical approaches change the context in such a way as to invoke productive epistemological resources. One strategy (Elby) refinement of preexisting material, as opposed to a replacement of ‘‘bad’’ material by ‘‘good’’ material. Elby developed his strategy specifically toward an epistemological agenda of helping his students to understand learning as the refinement of everyday thinking.



  1. […] Taming the spaces This blog is about virtual and augumented spaces and our attempts of taming them for education « Final refinement of EC-TEL paper coherence paper about framing and transfer April 13th, 2007 I am continuing taking some notes for the refinement of my paper. […]

  2. […] April 13th, 2007 The paper below is not very supportive from the sense of rewriting my coherence paper, but it addresses some interesting aspects: – situation space which is defined by propositions, […]

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