Adapting Historical Knowledge Production to the Classroom || Does History of Science Contribute To The Construction of Knowledge In The Constructivist Environments of Learning?

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  • P.V. Kokkotas et al., (eds.), Adapting Historical Science Knowledge Production to the Classroom, 6184. 2011 Sense Publishers. All rights reserved.





    Over the last twenty years, an increasing interest has been developed in what concerns the contribution of HOS to the teaching of science in all levels of education. This interest has been expressed with: a) the creation of the International History, Philo-sophy and Science Teaching Group b) the organization of European and International Conferences (Paris 1988; Tallahassee-Florida 1989; Cambridge 1990; Madrid 1992; Szombathely 1994; Minneapolis 1995; Bratislava 1996; Pavia 1999; Calgary 2007; Notre Dame 2009) and c) the publication of the Journal: Science & Education. The interest in the use of HOS in teaching science is not new. For example, Ernest Mach claimed that the use of HOS as a vehicle to obtain a genuine under-standing of modern scientific contents, to appropriately face new problems and prompt further progress in science, is unique (Galili & Hazan, 2001). Mach argued that:

    A person who has read and understood the Greek and Roman authors, has felt and experienced, more than one who is restricted to the impression of the present. He sees how men, placed in different circumstances, judge quite differently the same things from what we do today. His own judgments will be rendered thus more independent (Mach, 1886/1986, p. 347 cited by Galili & Hazan, 2001).

    This opinion of Mach becomes more significant in the context of science teaching. Since 1927 and until recently the prevailing view for using HOS in science teaching was that of Haywood (1927). Although he believed in the importance of the historical approach to science teaching, he had the certainty that students will not benefit as much from it in their examinations. Even today the situation remains much the same (Matthews, 1994), since many teachers dont use HOS in their teaching. Furthermore, it is accepted that present and past science textbooks make only passing reference to HOS. Where history is included, it all too often becomes fictionalized conveys the Whig view on history (Brush, 1974). Monk & Osborne (1997) describe Whig view as a historical approach which interprets the past in terms of present ideas and values, elevating in significance all incidents and work that have contributed to the formation of current society, rather than attempting to



    understand social context of the era and the contingent factors that contributed its production. The contribution of HOS in teaching science even in the form of the Whig view could be accepted to the extent, it serves science education. Furthermore, whiggism, according to Nickelss point, is invaluable in the practice of science; it is the condition for conducting good research (Nickels, 1992, p. 98). Another direction for the exploitation of HOS in science teaching is that described by Kuhn, who distinguishes between HOS for scientists (textbook history) and HOS for historians and philosophers. The importance of Kuhns distinction rests on his intention to advance and recommend the orderly and heroic history of scientists as a myth that will entice and blind them (Kindi, 2005). According to her, Kuhn by recognizing the significance of textbook history in science education highlights the importance of the bad history of textbooks, since this history is an indelible condition of scientific practice and it is conductive to forming the scientists course of action. Kuhn perceives science as a practice and not as a set of propositions forming a theory. The systematic use of HOS in science education started in the USA at the middle of the 20th century. HOS in education was used by Conant in his work: Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science (Conant, 1957). Another attempt to introduce HOS in teaching secondary school science was made by Klopher (19641966) in his project: History of Science Cases for Schools. Perhaps the most integrated approach arguing for the introduction of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) in science teaching is the Harvard Project Physics Course (HPPC) developed by Rutherford, Holton and Watson (1970). This project had a humanistic orientation and aimed to attract and motivate students of secondary education in the study of physics (Bruch, 1989). Even today this aim has not been achieved in all European countries. For this reason the European Union (EU) calls for proposals for projects with humanistic orientation to be produced in order to attract and motivate a wider range of students to study physics or science at post secondary and university levels. Over the last decades in the USA and the EU research programs dealing with the nature of science (NOS) and (HOS) have been developed. For example three important reports for science education have been introduced: Science for All Americans (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1989), Bench-marks for Science Literacy (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993), and the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996). This inclusion of HOS in science education is justified on the following grounds: a) HOS is both a tool for teaching science well, and b) HOS is a part of the substance of science literacy (Rutherford, 2001). In two of the reports mentioned above an integrated program containing natural and social sciences, mathematics and technology has been developed in an interdisciplinary way, using cases of HOS and reflecting on the values of the educational paradigm: Science Technology Society (DeBoer, 1991, p. 178184). In this paper we attempt to answer the question whether HOS contributes to better quality science teaching and how accomplishes it. For technical reasons our study is restricted only to constructivist environments and especially to individual and socio- constructivism.




    The most well known theories of learning in science education still in use are: behaviorism, discovery learning, constructivist theories, and sociocultural approaches to learning. Behaviorism was the prevailing theory of learning in science education over the last century. This theory is still in practice in many countries of the world. For behaviorism a stimulus (S) from the environment produces a response (R) from the organism, and with repetition, a S-R bond formed so that a given S is almost inevitably associated with a given R. Behaviorism was largely based on animal experimentation in laboratories and was extensively practiced in ancient Greece, where it was believed that repetition is the mother of every learning. Learning in behaviorism is defined as the change of the behavior of the subject due to know-ledge gained. For this theory knowledge is objective and transmittable. The rigid prescriptive nature of beheviorism was consistent with and supported by the positivist or empiricist view of the nature of knowledge and knowing made popular by Bacon, Hume and later by Pearson (1900) and other philosophers of the Vienna School (Novak, 1993). According to Novak the failure of these ideas to describe and predict how scholars produce knowledge and how humans learn allowed new views of knowledge as paradigm construction (Kuhn, 1962) and evolving populations of concepts (Toulmin, 1972). The epistemology of the discovery of knowledge by scientists and consequently the discovery of learning by students are best described by von Glasersfeld. According to him, to most traditional philosophers true knowledge is a commodity supposed to exist as such, independent of experience, waiting to be discovered by a human knower. It is timeless and requires no deve-lopment, except that the human share of it increases as exploration goes on (von Glasersfeld, 2001). In discovery learning, knowledge is regarded as objective and independent of the learner. Both the above theories regard students minds as empty vessels, ignoring their previous knowledge. As the beheviorist theory of learning, so discovery learning failed to describe and predict how humans learn and how knowledge is produced. Therefore, it was gradually replaced by new theories, very well rooted in epistemology, i.e. constructivism and sociocultural theories of learning. Both these theories reject the traditional epistemological claims about knowledge as an objective representation of reality.


    There is a belief shared by most psychologists who study learning, that from birth to death individuals construct and reconstruct the meaning of events and objects they observe. It is an ongoing process, and a distinctly human process. This reality has been recognized by educators for at least the last two millennia, but it was only relatively recently that scholars developed methods and tools for the characterization of personal meanings. Foremost among these tools have been Piagets (1926) clinical interview; Kellys (1955) repertory grid for eliciting personal constructs and Novaks concept maps (Novak, 1993).



    The psychological processes by which an individual constructs his/her own new meanings are essentially the same as the epistemological processes by which new knowledge is constructed by the professionals in a discipline (Schwab, 1964; Toulmin, 1972). A better understanding of the individuals acquisition and organization of knowledge leads to an understanding of the structure of the knowledge constructed by scholars in a discipline. In both cases, knowledge construction is a complex product of the human capacity to build meaning (Novak, 1993). Constructivism can be connected to Plato and to Aristotle and later to Kant, Giambattista Vico, and in the 20th century to Dewey. More recently, different researchers have identified different forms of constructivism. For example, Steffe and Gale distinguished six different core paradigms of it:

    social constructivism, radical constructivism, social constructionism, information-processing constructivism, cybernetic systems, and sociocultural approaches to mediated action (Steffe & Gale, 1995, p. xiii).

    We believe that the most important of the constructivist theories are: a) individual constructivism e.g. Piagetian constructivism or von Glasersfelds constructivism-radical constructivism b) social-constructivism and c) sociocultural theories1. In recent years there has been a shift from perspectives that adopt individual constructivist assumptions (Tobin, 1993; Von Glasersfeld, 1995; Mintzes, Wandersee & Novak, 1998) to socioconstructivist, sociocultural ones (Lemke, 2001; Wells, 1999). We are of the opinion that the contribution of HOS to science learning varies in reference to the theory of learning used. For example HOS is used differently in a behaviorist learning environment than in a discovery, constructivist, or a sociocultural one. Also the role of the teacher as well as that of the student is different in each of the above learning environments. Individual constructivism is rooted in the Piagetian theory of structuralism and is regarded by some educators as an epistemology, focusing on the nature, methods, and limitations of knowledge. It is a model of knowing in which the mental represent-ations that people construct are regarded as learning with no necessary correspondence to an objective and a priori scientific ontology (Cobb, 1994a, 1994b). In the same category belongs also the radical constructivism of von Glasersfeld (1988, 1999), who has stressed that the construction of knowledge is a personal concern and its function is to organize the experiential world. According to von Clasersfeld (1988, p. 83) Cognition serves the experimental world, not the discovery of an objective reality. Furthermore for him every individual constructs his/her on own reality and the notion of objectivity where observations could be made without an observer is a delusion. For radical constructivism the question: What is knowledge? is meaningless. On the contrary of great interest is the question: How is knowledge generated?, which ought to be the subject of investigations. We are not passively floored by information from the outside; we actively construct our world (Glasersfeld, 1995). Radical constructivism, as its name suggests, by applying the idea of viable constructions also to itself rather than proposing a dogmatic world-view, is consistent in its claim (Riegler, 2001). Furthermore, von Glasersfeld, by introducing the notion of functional fit, clearly defines what it means to know in a radical constructivism context. It possess ways and means to acting and thinking that allow one to attain



    ones own goals, rather than to posses a true representation of reality. Radical constructivism is associated with knowledge of the experiential world of which von Glaserfeld is most commonly concerned. Also, this type of constructivism tends to have a focus on individual self regulation, similar to the Piagetian view, and the building of conceptual structures. This view is concerned with mostly cognitive processes. OLoughlin argues that the above version of constructivism is problematic because: a) it ignores the subjectivity of the learner and the socially and historically situated nature of knowing; b) it denies the essentially collaborative and social nature of meaning making; and c) it privileges only one form of knowledge namely, the technical rational (OLoughlin, 1992). In individual constructivism, the learning of science has to do with the students and the teacher seeing and coming to see in certain ways. In social constructivism, the fundamental hypothesis is that the mental representations of the students and the teacher are regarded as socially constructed. Social constructivism emerged out of radical and Piagetian constructivism and is concerned with the contributions of social interactions to the construction of the self which includes a construction of who I am, including the self as a science learner (Atwater, 1996). According to Gergen (1995) social construction begins with language as its fundamental presupposition. He argued that meaning in language is achieved through social interdependence and it is context-dependent. Language basically aids communal functions and for him there is only a social mind, not an individual one. Social constructivism attributes prevailing role to language in what concerns meaning making and the legitimisation of knowledge. In this form of constructivism the socially and culturally situated nature of mental activities is of prime importance. Vygotsky could be regarded as a social constructivist. Amongst the most contem-porary scientists is Rosalind Driver who would be mostly associated with this version of constructivism. In all forms of constructivism people construct their own know-ledge. Perhaps the main distinction between individual and social constructivism is the following: in individual constructivism, the focus is on cognition and the individual; in social constructivism, the focus is on language and the group. Attempts have been made to integrate these two different perspectives (e.g., Cobb, 1994a). Millar and Driver (1987) stressed that scientific knowledge is personally and socially constructed, rather than objective and revealed, science theories are provisional, rather than absolute and unchanging. They maintained that science learning depends on the representations a student brings to a situation and the characteristics of the learning situation itself. Learning occurs when students interact with others, so, their ideas become modified, extended or changed in the process. The implication of this epistemology for learning is that what students observe or predict about natural phenomena and the approaches they take in problem solving and experimenting depend crucially on the way they construct their world. Whereas, Driver, et al (1994) emphasized the social aspect of constructivism when they stated:

    Scientific knowledge is symbolic in nature and socially negotiated. The objects of science are not the phenomena of nature but constructs that are advanced by the scientific community to interpret nature (p. 5).



    Fosnot (1996) proposes a theory of constructivism that describes knowledge as temporary, developmental, non objective, internally constructed, and socially and culturally mediated. According to Vygotsky, the fundamental assumption of development and learning is that higher mental functions in the individual derive from social life (Vygotsky 1978, p. 128). Leach & Scott (2003, p. 99) by using Vygotskys view of inter-nalization argue that language and other semiotic mechanisms provide the means for scientific ideas to be discussed by people on the social (or intermental) level. The process of internalization (Vygotsky, 1987) is where individuals appropriate and become able to use for themselves (on the intramental level) conceptual tools first encountered on the social level. The products of internalization will be different for different individuals. Following the process of internalization, language provides the tools for individual thinking. Central to this view is the interdependence between language and thought. It is not true that language offers some neutral means for communicating personally and internally generated thoughts; language provides the very tools through which those thoughts are first rehearsed on the intermental level and then processed and used on the intramental level. A main characteristic of Vygotskys view of human mental development is that higher order functions develop out of social interaction. Unlike Piaget, Vygotsky argues that a childs development cannot be understood by the study of the individual. We must also study the social environment in which the individual has developed. Vygotsky (1934/1986) described learning as being embedded in social events and occurring as a child interacts with people, objects, and events in the environment. According to Tharp and Gallimore (1988):

    Through participation in activities that require cognitive and communicative functions, children are drawn into the use of these functions in ways that nurture and scaffold them (p. 6).

    The objective of social constructivism is to understand the construction of know-ledge in terms of social interaction. Social constructivists recognize the importance of contextual values. Much of a persons actions (including the knowledge and intentions of the person) can be understood only in terms of the norms of the society in which that person is a member. Students cultural realities, including concepts of self and social roles, are constructed through social interactions (Bauersfeld, 1995, in Atwater, 1996). Cobb (1995) asserts that learning is a social activity that cannot be reduced to a psychological construct. In our opinion Piagetian constructivism focuses on individual knowing, whereas social constructivism focuses in collaborative knowing. The word knowing should be used to indicate the subjective meaning of the person and the word knowledge should be used to indicate socially negotiated and accepted forms of language (Smith, 1995, p. 24). Students from various cultures, regardless of class, disability, or ethnicity, construct their own knowledge socially (Novak, 1985; Strike & Posner, 1985). Hence, cognitive abilities are socially transmitted, socially constrained, socially nurtured, and socially encouraged (Day, French & Hall, 1985). Cobb (1994a) maintained that



    the critical issue for researchers is the quality of those socially and culturally situated constructions of students science conceptions. According to Bingle & Gaskell (1994), there are two kinds of science knowledge: (a) ready-made science knowledge, which is taken for granted and seen as un-disputed and unrelated to the specific contexts of its development and includes scientific facts or statements about reality and (b) science-in-the-making know-ledge, which is statements about scientific knowledge that are viewed as contestable and unstable claims. In our opinion ready- made science knowledge is not really knowledge but it is just information consisting of memorized facts and rules, which is difficult to be exploited by the learner. Ready-made science knowledge is at the bottom of Blooms hierarchical system of the taxonomy of educational objectives (Bloom, 1956). We argue that learning is a voluntary and pleasant activity and as such it needs contexts that are attractive to students and allow them through on-going personal reflection and verbal and written discourse to become socialized to a greater and lesser extent into practices of the scientific community (Driver et al., 1994, p. 8). Stinner (1996) believes that such contexts should provide opportunities for personal reflections and problem solving as well as participation in group discussions and experimental activities.


    The interest for using HOS in science teaching in relation to the arguments which question how it could advance the conceptual change are based on two assumptions: a) the similarity between the conceptions of students and of those of scientists or philosophers of the past, and b) the parallelism between the development of students understanding and the evolution of scientific concepts in HOS (Masson & Vazquez- Abad, 2006).

    4.1 The Use of HOS for the Detection of Misconceptions

    There are many empirical researches, which support the thesis of the relation between students and past scientists or philosophers conceptions. For example it was found in a comparative bibliographic study of the conceptions of early philosophers and those of children relating to the role of light on the one hand and the role of eye on the other in the process of vision, contacted by Dedes (2005), that the historical models and the alternative conceptions of children, regarding the process of vision have a number of common ideas. He noticed that the Pythagorean, atomist and mathematician philosophers, irrespective of the adoption of emission or reception theories, do not recognize any role for the external light. For them vision is possible either with the exclusive emission of visual rays or with the reception of images. Evidently pupils who adopt interpretations (any systematic relationship between light, object and eye e.g. we see because our eyes have the ability to see) and interpretations (the passage of light from the source to the object without



    providing any further detail of the role played by light in the visual process) as well as children who advocate the first scheme among those where directionality is suggested, appear to come to the same conclusion. We see an abstract, ambiguous and unspecified process, in which light plays no role. Galileos dialogs (Azcarate, Doncel & Romo, 1988) could be used as a good example offered by the HOS of how to deal with students alternative ideas. On the basis of these findings the role of HOS obtains a new significance, namely how it could help educators not only anticipate students misconceptions but also to assist them to teach effectively science to them. According to Monk and Osborne (1997) the studies on childrens misconceptions show that this thinking is more akin to preparadigmatic thinking. They quote (Wandersee, 1985):

    .often (the studies) harbour misconceptions which were similar to views held at one time or another during historical development of that science concept- thus making the history of science a useful heuristic device for anticipating some students conceptual difficulties (Monk and Osborne, 1997, p. 413).

    According to our view teachers studying the evolution of scientific concepts could have an indication about the difficulties students face when they study these concepts. Consequently teachers taking into account the above difficulties could organize effective learning environments for their students. In this case the difficulties them-selves could not be regarded as real obstacles but as means to be used for fruitful learning. Aristotelian thinking and childrens thinking are similar, since both emphasize the nature of essence of objects and teleological nature of causality. Aristotle believed that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones a notion that children also believe. Other researchers have announced findings similar to the above. For example Sequera and Leite (1991) identified some analogies of content between historical and alternative ideas. Moreover the same findings indicated that HOS can anticipate students alternative ideas, can give physics teachers some insight on how to deal with these ideas, and provides some teaching materials and approaches, which can be used in the classroom in order to change students ideas under the perspective of a constructivist theory of learning. Alternative ideas on mechanics are very resistant to change (Pozo, 1987) and can be found in students even after several years of formal teaching of Newtonian physics. Besides, pre-Newtonian concepts of mechanics also had a strong appeal to scientists and were at least as resistant to change as students concepts are (Clement, 1982).

    4.2 The Relation of Ontogenesis and Phylogenesis

    In relation to the second argument i.e. the parallelism among the development of childrens understanding and the evolution of scientific concepts in HOS the terms of ontogenesis and phylogenesis describe this evolution. Ontogenesis refers to the evolution of an individuals thought, whereas phylogenesis refers to the evolution of scientific ideas in human history. Many researchers have pointed to such corres-pondences (McDermott, 1984; Viennot, 1979; Vosniadou & Brewer, 1987, etc).



    This view is reinforced by the opinion of Duhem, who claimed that there is an analogy between the development of scientific knowledge and the growth of individual understanding of nature (Duhem, 1954). Niaz (2000) in a research aiming to establish a relationship between students understanding of gases and its parallels in HOS found that their reasoning represents a form of idealization process used frequently by scientists to understand complex phenomena. Furthermore, idealization according to him enables students as well as scientists to separate the ideal or scientific object of knowledge from real objects and is considered to be the defining characteristic of modern non-Aristotelian science (McMullin, 1985; Niaz, 1993; Matthews, 1994). He quotes Matthews (1994) that:

    History and Philosophy of Science can make the idealization of science more understandable, and can explain them as scientific tools of trade, or instruments (idealized lattices in this case) whereby the complex concrete world can be investigated (p. 212).

    There is also the opposite view which supports that ontogenesis and phylogenesis do not go in parallel. Namely, that it is not supported by the evidence of detailed examinations of the historical evolution of scientific concepts that ontogenesis recapitulates/ complements phylogenies. For example, Wiser and Carey (1983) verified this view by exploring the elaboration of the concepts of heat and temperature, also Wandersee (1985) when he examined students understanding of photosynthesis, and Vosniadou and Brewer (1987) when they investigated the development of the concept of the Earth as a round sphere where down is toward the center of the Earth. All the above researchers found that there are important differences between childrens thinking and the phylogenetic origins of these concepts. Nersessian (1989) trying to explain these differences argued that these could be attributed to metaphysical, epistemological and sociological factors, which play an important role in the formation of a representation.

    4.3 The Use of HOS for the Design of Learning Constructivist Environments

    In our view the contribution of HOS in science teaching and learning has three main dimensions. The exploitation of HOS is used for the design and development of: i. educational activities for students conceptual change, ii. environments for under-standing the nature of science (NOS) and iii. affective tools (e.g. stories, vignettes, role-playing) for science teaching.

    4.3 i The exploitation of HOS for students conceptual change. In this section we shall study the use of HOS for the creation of educational activities such as crucial experiments, teaching models, and simulations for students conceptual change. We shall also present indicative examples of how the HOS could be used in the process of teaching and learning science. As we have seen in the previous paragraph we can find students misconceptions as well as the evolution of them by using the HOS. Based on this fact we can design learning environments aiming to achieve students conceptual change, as an individuals process in the case of the personal constructivism, or as an interactive process in the case of social constructivism.



    From the study of the historical sources i.e. the arguments, the means and the methods, which helped the scientists change their views, we could choose materials to be used for the design and development of the educational content which can contribute to the conceptual change of students. Such an example is the teaching model of Monk and Osborne (1997). We could say that their model is a transfor-mation of the teaching model of Driver and Oldham (1985). Actually in the phase of elicitation of students ideas in the above mentioned model, where the ideas of the groups of students are presented, Monk and Osborne added the historical study to be presented by the teacher. The historical study includes material from HOS as described in this paragraph. So, in this teaching approach students have the opportunity to use the language in a figurative and flexible manner so that they might recognize that the role of the scientist is not just to discover the facts of science but also to construct them. In this sense students could perhaps better under-stand the NOS. Moreover students will become aware that there are often parallelisms between their thought and earlier scientific thought. This is a possibility which has been provided to students in order for them to be able to articulate and clarify their own understanding and interpretation of the phenomenon in question (ibid). We argue that a teaching model based on discussion is proper for the effective teaching difficult concepts, such us the laws of Newton where students conceptions have been constructed over many years and have meaning for them due to their experience. In this case, it is important that the students will be encouraged to discuss their ideas with their teacher and colleagues in order to clearly perceive their own misconceptions when compared to the Newtonian ideas. This teaching strategy has been advocated over the last decades by researchers and educators concerned with the students conceptual change. However, it is interesting to point out that a similar strategy was already used by Galileo (Clement, 1982), in order to show that his theory was more accurate than the prevalent ideas of the time. It has been argued that HOS can provide incentives for and support students attempts to reconstruct their views because it

    offers fitting material to illustrate the modification and revision, the rejection and reinstatement of models, their relativity and dependence on the spirit of the age. Pupils can critically view historical models more easily than their own (Lind, 1980, cited by Sequeira & Leite, 1991, p. 55).

    Rudge and Howe (2009) have also proposed their own teaching model, which exploits HOS for students construction of current scientific views. This model suggests to teachers a new way to use HOS to explore the prior conceptions of their students and to provide opportunities to them to think along the lines that past scientists did, as an exercise in thinking like scientists, rather than studying exactly what happened historically. It gives to students the opportunity to construct their own scientific knowledge. They think that the HOS is the best instrument to help students overcome misconceptions they have about scientific concepts. Students are invited to study the sorts of considerations that led the scientists to overcome similar misconceptions. The fact that the conceptions usually change from complex to more complex forces the teachers to teach science qualitatively.



    As Confrey (1990) argues, discussions on historical conceptions have the advantage to show to students an evolutionary sequence of their conceptions towards actual scientific conceptions. The comparison of students concepts with those of HOS gives the potential to students to understand their advantages and disadvantages in specific contexts by exposing the differences between ways to think before and after (Monk & Osborne, 1997). We believe that on the basis of this view the role of HOS obtains a new perspective, i.e. HOS offers the possibility to teachers, educators, and designers of the curriculum to anticipate the evolution of students misconceptions on the basis of the evolution of scientific ideas. These findings are in accordance with Piagets work, focusing on the phylogenesis of science concepts and HOS (Piaget & Garcia, 1987). Binnie (2001) argues that the development of contemporary conceptions of electricity, magnetism and electromagnetism do not appear in a linear progression in the HOS. Students observe phenomena in order to explain their observations in terms of a model usually engaged in discourse. The models that they construct at first are later modified, altered, or expanded in order to explain new phenomena. Given that HOS could provide the strategic knowledge of the way scientific concepts are constructed, change or spread (Izquierdo, 1995), we argue that on this basis HOS could contribute to the development of the necessary educational material by science teachers to be used by students for the construction of their knowledge. As a characteristic example of the exploitation of HOS for the development of educational material for the teaching of the concept of energy at the 6th grade of primary school we mention the Rizaki and Kokkotas proposal (2010, in press). The historiographic study of the concept of energy offered all these characteristics, such as the unifying and the causal characters of the concept of energy which constitute the core of the development of the educational material for the teaching of this concept. Because science is fundamentallyamong other things- a cognitive activity, we believe that HOS not only could be used for the design of educational material, but it could also help teachers devise the methodology so that it can be introduced in the teaching process with the aim solving realistic scientific problems. An indicative case is the one used by Nersessian (1995) who applied her analysis on historical episodes in order to understand the way the representational resources are utilized during the process of problem-solving through which new concepts emerge. She supports the view that the cognitive dimension of analogies, thought experiments, and metaphors is central, in the sense that it is these tactics which suggest the inferential reasoning, which, from the existing representations, produces new ones (Yamalidou, 2001). HOS could make people more conscious about the idealization of science, as it worked in the case of Galileo, and help students discern the explanation of the phenomena on the basis of experience and idealizations (Matthews, 1994). As an example of this one can mention the dialogues of Galileo with del Monde (see the paper of Stefanidou & Vlachos in this volume). The dialogues could help students recognize that science is a cooperative activity and not an effort of isolated individual scientists. Furthermore, the presentation of the argumentations in the classroom and their employment in the teaching process, in parallel with students alternative



    ideas, facilitates them to construct their own scientific knowledge. The exposure of the students to HOS may help them make sense of scientific claims, and the re-construction of scientific ideas Gallili and Hazan (2000). Another case for the use of HOS for the design of educational material is the experimental simulations: for example Masson and Vzquez-Abad (2006) proposed a new way to integrate HOS in science education to promote conceptual change by introducing the notion of historical microworld, which is a computer-based inter-active learning environment in built reference to the particular historical conceptions. Historical microworlds developed not only to help students understand scientific conceptions of the past, but also to understand the weakness of their own conceptions. Our project The Science Teacher e-Training (STeT), funded by European Union, seeks, using the advantages of ICT technologies, to broaden the supply of training opportunities to science teachers by using HOS in science teaching. This can be achieved since the program brings HOS and science education into productive contact and meets the training needs of teachers by making teaching more cooperative and, related to historical and cultural factors. The program can enable teachers to plan learning experiences in science lessons that empower their students and also enhance the computer literacy of teachers and build their skills in using multimedia-based resources and strategies in their teaching (Kokkotas et al., 2009). HOS offers a greater possibility for the design of educational material and the exploitation of the historical instruments-replicas (e.g. Heering, 1994; Riess, 1995). Experimental work, based on the original experiments can be readily performed in most classrooms and enhance the excitement of discovery (Binnie, 2001).

    4.3 ii Making use of HOS for the understanding of the nature of science (NOS). HOS was used as a source for the development of education material for the teaching of science methodology in order for students to develop cognitive skills (Kipnis, 1996, Arons, 1990; Dunn, 1993). In what it concerns these attempts, until some years ago, the interest around HOS was how it could be used for the exploitation of inquiry practices of scientists, aiming at the introduction of students in science methodology. Over the last few years the constructivist approach in science teaching and the understanding of scientific inquiry has acquired an increasing interest for its epistemo-logical dimension. This means that there is a need not only for the understanding of the empirical processes of inquiry, but also of concepts and theories, to the degree that they shape the explanation of the results. The use of HOS could contribute to this direction since it helps students understand the nature of science methodology. Indeed this is so since it compares different methodologies and offers the possibility to students to accept that there is not only one scientific method. For example when students compare the different contexts of scientific methodology they establish the view that there are different scientific methods, which lead them to better understand the nature of science (Stinner, 1995a). When students are studying experiments and the methodology of science, both of which originate from HOS, they discuss about the scientific inquiry, realize the controversies and the incomplete nature of scientific knowledge (Matthews, 1992).



    Monk and Osborne (1997) propose the use of HOS, whose focus is always the conceptual explanation and its justification, would not only support the learning of science but also the learning about science. They think that the process approach gives the strong impression that scientific investigation is an empirical process in which the rigid application of the standard rules of knowing will lead inexorably to the derivation of certain knowledge of the laws of science. They also think that the study of scientific ideas in their original context of discovery will help students develop their conceptual understanding. For them neither the study of process nor the study of the products of science can provide either an adequate account of science or an adequate education in science without the incorporation of some HOS. According to Kipnis (1998) experiments by themselves do not produce any new knowledge: they are useful only if students learn how to put together experiment and theory. With this approach, students understand how and why theories emerge and replace their predecessors. It can be emphasized that the process of scientific progress is fluid and constantly changing and should never be taught as a set of immutable facts (Binnie, 2001). As Kyle (1997, p. 852) noticed, and we agree with him, students ought to experience the how of scientific enquiry, rather than merely being exposed to what is known about and by science. In this context our interpretation of the how of scientific enquiry includes the intellectual struggles faced by scientists within the relevant historical context. HOS could contribute to the understanding of the nature of the content of science not only when students ascertain its evolutionary nature but also its creativity. Especially, when they study current theories and concepts in comparison to those which were valid in the past (by discussing theories at length, including their origin, development and the replacement by other theories), they have the opportunity to understand the evolutionary procedure of these theories and concepts and also of science itself (Kipnis, 1998). When students are engaged in the development of educational material which encompasses the history of the formulation of a scientific theory they can perceive its creative potentiality. In our opinion a characteristic example could be the study of Einsteins theory of relativity based on the history of its formulation. This could help students grasp not only its originality but also the notion that science does not proceed inductionally. In this context they could understand what science is. The study of Einsteins thought experiments, as well as of experiments in general, as they function in science, according to Bevilacqua and Ganneto (1996) offers the possibility to students to understand that these are used not only to falsify a theory but also to argue about its correctness. Students, using educational material from HOS, could understand the different explanations of a phenomenon given by the scientists in different times in the past. A concrete example of this is the Pavia Project Physics where students facing the different explanations of the natural phenomena realize that there is not only one truth, but one acceptable view for the explanation of the same phenomenon in each period of time. According to our view this fact helps students adopt the opinion that scientific knowledge does not represent the objective reality.



    Gallili and Hazan researched in students conceptions about light and vision and proposed a broader approach to science teaching which accompanies HPS to teaching science, replaces the traditional focus on the correct for now scientific contents and problem solving training. As such, it reflects a cardinal change in the philosophy of education. History-based instruction uncovers the non-linear process by which current scientific knowledge was attainted. A special feature, which soundly contrasted their course from a typical one, was its essential incorporation of historical contents: the ideas, views and conceptions which constituted the early understanding of light and vision. They presented the assessment which concerns the courses impact on the students views about science and some related technological and cultural issues. According to their research strong differences were found between the views elicited in the experimental group and parallel data regarding students in the control group. This study demonstrated the advantage of utilizing historical materials in a way which is additional to their intention: to improve students disciplinary knowledge and to affect their views about science (Gallili & Hazan, 2001). A concrete example for using HOS in science teaching offers our project The MAP prOject, funded by the European Union. The MAP prOject, was an in-service training program for primary and secondary school science teachers, for promoting the learning of physics based on HOS. It aimed to exploit authentic historical events on the topic of falling bodies (Aristotles, Galileos and Newtons theories on falling bodies), by using students conceptions about the Nature of Science (NOS), the Nature of Learning (NOL) and the Nature of Teaching (NOT). This program is based on social constructivist learning principles using a variety of teaching strategies (e.g. group work, simulations) that utilize historical scientific materials on the issue of falling bodies (Kokkotas et al., 2009). Although there are many proponents of the contribution of HOS to the improve-ment of students NOS views (e.g., Duschl, 1990; Matthews, 1994; Monk & Osborne, 1997; Wandersee, 1992), there are also other researches, which suggest different findings. For example, the research contacted by Adb-El-Khalick and Lederman (2000) examined the effect on college students conceptions about the NOS and studied three different courses whose curriculum used HOS. The research findings do not indicate empirical support to the assertion that coursework in HOS would improve students NOS views.

    4.3 iii The use of HOS for the development of affective tools (e.g. stories, vignettes, role- playing). The use of HOS in science teaching aiming to raise the interest of students and cultivate their emotions, gradually gets more attention from educators, science researchers and science teachers. HOS obtains a new role in the context of viewing science as a human activity (Nielsen & Thomson, 1990). This view was introduced in Danish secondary schools in the 19881990 reform of the physics curri-culum, where elements of the History and Philosophy of Science were incorporated in the teaching process (Thomsen, 1998). Stinner and Teichmann (2003, p. 214) have developed dramatic settings to illustrate confrontations (for example, Copernicus and the Aristotelians, Newton



    discusses the nature of light with Robert Hooke in the HOS classes at the University of Manitoba). The Manitoba group believes that new ideas in science become more accessible through dramatization. We also argue that the dramatization of events based on the HOS offers the opportunity to students to develop positive attitudes and be motivated for science learning, especially when they play roles of scientists. Today, we acknowledge that science teaching needs revision because school science ignores the needs of students to obtain skills for investigation processes and for the cultivation of their imagination and inspiration. For the improvement of this situation the abandoning of the academic tradition in the primary and secondary science education curriculum is proposed, and at the same time its connection with the human element (AAAS, 1990; UNESCO, 2000). In this context the exploitation of HOS could have a vital role in science education. Some writers argue that the humanizing and clarifying influence of HOS brings the science to life and enables students to construct relationships that would have been impossible in the traditional decontextualized way in which science has been taught (Jung, 1994; Kipnis, 1996; Koul & Dana, 1997). Such a teaching approach could probably help students appreciate science as a value-laden procedure where values such as objectivity, curiosity, the pursuit of truth, intellectual honesty, humility and commitment to human welfare are central (Stevenson & Byerly, 2000). Students are helped to perceive that scientific knowledge is not as objective as it is presented in science textbooks, since it is the outcome of a human endeavor full of successes but also of failures. If we accept that knowledge is indeed a human construction then not only the prior conceptions of the learner but also his/her sentimentalities such as fears, anxieties, hopes and expectations should be taken into account in the teaching process (Egan, 1990). Other writers and science education researchers e.g. Arons (1989) and Luth (1990) have elaborated on the notion of using a story line approach to the teaching of science, via the construction of historical vignettes. These are stories that describe a brief episode from the life of a scientist, which characterizes the HPS, demonstrates scientific attributes, and provides students with a historical perspective of the topic illustrated. Arons (1989) argued that good science stories that have intrinsic interest and show connections that are not to be found in textbooks. Egan (1988, 1989a) has also proposed a procedure based on the story form. According to research based on the constructivist nature of human sense making (Egan, 1986) the story metaphor is more appropriate in describing what we learn about the world. Stinner (1996, p. 263) presents a program of activities placed around contextual settings, where science stories and contemporary issues of interest are recommended in order to facilitate the passage of children from the early apprehension of the world to a personal scientific knowledge rooted in language and to the comprehension of organized scientific knowledge. We believe that stories from HOS and storytelling as a teaching strategy can contribute to the humanizing of teaching, the improvement of the climate in science classrooms among students and student-teachers and the development of positive



    attitudes towards science learning. In this context the understanding of science concepts can be improved. Noddings and Witherell (1991) write:

    We learn from stories. More important, we come to understand ourselves, others, and even the subjects we teach and learn. Stories engage us. Stories can help us to understand by making the abstract concrete and accessible. What is only dimly perceived at the level of principle may become vivid and powerful in the concrete. Further, stories motivate us. Even that which, we understand at the abstract level, may not move us to action, whereas a story often does (p. 279280).

    Nevertheless, science teaching with the use of stories is not an easy process. According to Egan it is quite complex and difficult to convey in a condensed fashion (Egan, 1979, 1986, 1992, 1997, 2005). This is true since it has as a prerequisite that the teacher creates an affective environment and engages his/her students in discourse. Given that stories facilitate understanding, stimulate engagement and produce motivation and even help us to understand ourselves, the appropriate use of the story form in science teaching can, indeed, become an heuristic teaching device that is not only attractive, but also self-sustaining (Klassen, 2006). Furthermore, stories constitute a natural and effective way of thinking and can be used as a means of communication and cultural expression (Manna & Minichiello, 2005). We believe that HOS could be an important resource from which we can get appropriate material for composing stories in science education, because it links concepts, theories, phenomena and events of science with the scientists who lived, worked and were affected from the specific sociocultural environment of their era. But, it should be realized that the place of history is neither to make only a conceptual point nor just to place entertaining vignettes in the text but also to introduce the humanistic element and aspects of the NOS into the process of learning science (Klassen, 2006). However, we emphasize that the story should be chosen in a manner that shows respect to the originators and portrays them in a fair and balanced way. Specifically, storytelling helps the understanding of science concepts, and consequently to the construction of knowledge, since it helps the development of romantic understanding due to the fact that it makes students experience curiosity, mystery and even wonder. Some writers argue that romantic understanding is an alternative to conceptual understanding, on the following grounds a) it represents a different way of making sense of the world and of human experience through an attraction to their exotic, strange and mysterious features and the desire to transcend everyday reality, b) it gives the idea that knowledge is a human construction that, cannot be even considered outside of the context of its construction, c) it makes use of the students imagination and d) it has an aesthetic dimension (Egan, 1990; Hadzigeorgiou, 2005). Thus, romantic understanding could stimulate the development of inspiration which has a cognitive and an emotional dimension and can also lead students to some kind of action and the development of a special interest for science in general or a specific topic in particular. Stories and storytelling also develop the students anticipation. Dewey (1934) talked about anticipation and argued that consummation



    does not wait in consciousness for the whole undertaking to be finished. It is anticipated throughout and is recurrently savoured with special intensity (p. 55).

    Therefore students should have ample opportunities to experience anticipation and this can be added to the experience of mystery and wonder that a good story usually creates, so the anticipation can help the development of romantic understanding. Teachers can use narratives into which scientific ideas are embedded (Hadzigeorgiou & Stefanich, 2001; Stinner, 1995b) and which provide students with opportunities for reconnecting the knowledge with the transcendent qualities of the individuals who produced it (Egan, 1990, p. 139). Anticipation can also be experienced if the students can study the life of the great scientists and dramatize important events of it. Narration as an art of speech can facilitate the development of students imagination since:

    The development of imagination is linked to the development of speech, to the development of childs social interaction with those around him, to the basics of the collective social activity of the childs consciousness (Vygotsky, 1987, p. 346).

    So, the extension in narration helps the development of romantic understanding since imagination is one of its characteristics. According to Vygotsky (1998):

    imagination is...a function which is linked to emotional life, the life of drives and attitudes, is linked to intellectual life ...everything that requires artistic transformation of reality, everything that is connected with interpretation and construction of something new, requires the indispensable participation of imagination.

    In our opinion, imagination as the basis of all creative activity is an important component of all aspects of cultural life, enabling artistic, scientific and technical creation alike. In this sense,

    everything around us that was created by the hand of man, the entire world of human imagination and creation is based on this imagination (Vygotsky, 2003, p. 910).

    Vygotsky considered the development of imagination as necessary for the technical, scientific creativity of children as it is for the arts. The arts and sciences are not divided and both demand the need for the cultivation of imagination in our school curriculum (Gajdamaschko, 2005). Vygotsky proposed the development of imagina-tion through the mechanism of acquisition of cultural tools in the curriculum that could become the content of the childrens imaginative activities. In addition, Egan suggested story as congruent with Vygotskian requirements for

    cognitive tools because, stories are crystallized in culture and therefore they could be used as mediators tools for engaging the imagination of children (Egan, 1992, p. 56).

    Furthermore, narratives with stories from HOS used in science education assigns tasks to children for the development of the imagination. Another important ability



    which is developed concurrently with imagination is the ability to transfer the function from one object into other. This ability is very closely connected to the development of symbolic function in a child which means that the development of imagination could help the development of abstract thought (Vygotsky, 1978) and also in the understanding the abstract concepts in science. From the arguments developed above, it is deduced that stories and storytelling strategy develop: the inspiration, the anticipation, the imagination and the romantic understanding of students. The bridge between romantic understanding and science education are inspiration, imagination and anticipation. Students in developing romantic associations with people, events and ideas are inspired as, they are presented with questions that challenge their beliefs. Additionally stories present the human element and unfold strange and mysterious situations. This inspiration can lead to worthwhile experiences since it unites feeling with knowledge in a context of action and secure the continuity of experiences. If we accept that romantic understanding not only paves the way for conceptual understanding, but it can also be a prerequisite for such an understanding (Hadzigeorgiou, 2005), we can strongly argue that story-telling is an important pedagogical strategy which can contribute to the development of both conceptual and romantic understanding. Although many researchers propose the adoption of stories and storytelling for teaching, a few empirical researches in the literature proved their effectiveness in science teaching. For example Maria & Johnson (1989) examined the effectiveness of narrative in learning related to scientific reasons for seasonal change on seventh and fifth graders in different types of texts. Expository and soft expository texts (a hybrid of narrative and expository text) were used. The researchers concluded that the subjects understood the scientific explanation of seasonal change better with the soft expository text which included narrative than with the expository text. Kokkotas, Malamitsa and Rizaki (2008) proposed a storytelling teaching model for teaching science. The researchers in their model used the real stories from HOS together with other activities, such as experiments, discourses and, role playing in a constructivist environment. Students were able to use the information from the story-telling, and engage in discourse with their peers in order to answer the questions related to the design of the experimental activities. The outcome was that the students answered all the questions designed and elaborated all the experimental activities very efficiently without guidance. The researchers concluded that story-telling could help the students understand the scientific concepts. Narrative and storytelling could also be used effectively in virtual environments of various models of information and communication technologies, which enable children to be story constructors and storytellers with collaborative multimedia environments (Mott & Lester, 2006). These researchers propose an inquiry- based learning environment for middle school students by using narrative in teaching and learning. In these environments narrative and storytelling could be accompanied with a variety of tools such as role-playing, autobiographical writing and, simulations. Bostrom in his research examined teachers and students narrative in an effort to make school chemistry more meaningful to students. He asserted that narrative made chemistry more pluralistic, giving the opportunity to the lived experiences of



    the teachers and students to interact with the scientific facts. Such an approach, suggests a role of narrative as an instructional tool (Bostrom, 2006, in Avraamidou & Osborne, 2009).


    We hope that from the text above it has become apparent that the role of HOS in science teaching has obtained a greater significance among science educators, researchers and science teachers, since it contributes in various ways to the construc-tion of knowledge. According to constructivist theories of learning knowledge can not be transmitted from the teacher to the student, but can be constructed by the latter on the basis of his/hers conceptions and his/her interactions with others and language. The use of HOS in the construction of knowledge creates new perspectives for science teaching, the design and development of curricula, the initial education and the in-service training of science teachers and their practices in the classrooms. Especially, the design and development of curricula is necessary in order to utilize the conceptions of the scientists of the past, their controversies, their unanimous decisions, the cooperative character of the development of science, the nature of science etc. and contributes to a better understanding of science concepts by students. The incorporation of HOS in science teaching, as described above, contributes to the unfolding of its character as a human activity. Furthermore the inclusion in the curriculum of stories from the life and work of scientists in the form of narrative could contribute to the emotional development of the students, something that may result to the development of their romantic understanding and constitute the bridge to conceptual understanding. The trend towards the incorporation of HOS in science teaching marks the change of the orientation of initial teachers education and their in- service training so that they will become able to employ these practices in the context of socio-constructivist environments of learning. Of course, there is a need to research further the different ways of the introduction of HOS into the teaching practices. For example: In what ways do the narratives support science learning?, How do the narratives improve conceptual understanding?, What are the possibilities of the exploitation of HOS in the teaching of science in order to contribute to the understanding and the development of science?

    NOTES 1 Our paper is restricted to individual and socio- constructivism theories only.


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    5. DOES HISTORY OF SCIENCE CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE CONSTRUCTIVIST ENVIRONMENTS OF LEARNING?1. INTRODUCTION: ATTEMPTS TO INTRODUCE HISTORY OF SCIENCE (HOS) IN SCIENCE EDUCATION2. FROM BEHAVIORISM AND DISCOVERY LEARNING TO CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORIES3. THE CONSTRUCTION OF MEANING AND KNOWLEDGE IN CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORIES4. THE CONTRIBUTION OF HOS TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORIES4.1 The Use of HOS for the Detection of Misconceptions4.2 The Relation of Ontogenesis and Phylogenesis4.3 The Use of HOS for the Design of Learning Constructivist Environments4.3 i The exploitation of HOS for students conceptual change.4.3 ii Making use of HOS for the understanding of the nature of science (NOS).4.3 iii The use of HOS for the development of affective tools (e.g. stories, vignettes, roleplaying).



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