Using concept mapping to scaffold learning for students who experience learning difficulties in science classes

Kazakoff, Annette (2009) Using concept mapping to scaffold learning for students who experience learning difficulties in science classes. Professional Doctorate thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In order to develop scientific literacy students need the cognitive tools that enable them to read and evaluate science texts. One cognitive tool that has been widely used in science education to aid the development of conceptual understanding is concept mapping. However, it has been found some students experience difficulty with concept map construction. This study reports on the development and evaluation of an instructional sequence that was used to scaffold the concept-mapping process when middle school students who were experiencing difficulty with science learning used concept mapping to summarise a chapter of a science text. In this study individual differences in working memory functioning are suggested as one reason that students experience difficulty with concept map construction. The study was conducted using a design-based research methodology in the school’s learning support centre. The analysis of student work samples collected during the two-year study identified some of the difficulties and benefits associated with the use of scaffolded concept mapping with these students. The observations made during this study highlight the difficulty that some students experience with the use of concept mapping as a means of developing an understanding of science concepts and the amount of instructional support that is required for such understanding to develop. Specifically, the findings of the study support the use of multi-component, multi-modal instructional techniques to facilitate the development of conceptual understanding with students who experience difficulty with science learning. In addition, the important roles of interactive dialogue and metacognition in the development of conceptual understanding are identified.

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ID Code: 31810
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Supervisor: Fielding-Barnsley, Ruth & Ritchie, Stephen
Keywords: working memory, scaffolding, concept mapping, dual-coding, knowledge construction, conceptual understanding, learning difficulty, science learning, metacognition
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 15 Apr 2010 04:09
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:21

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