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A Model for Teaching the Cognitive Skill of Melioration to Pre-service Science Teachers


Prof. David Tzuriel, Dr. David Passig & Adva Margaliot
Bar Ilan University, Israel

Proposal:

Melioration, a high-level theoretical cognitive skill, was selected as a possible future skill needed to be implemented in future schooling.

The melioration skill is defined as "The skill of selecting the appropriate amalgam of information and implement it in problem solving in different situations dependant on time and place, in order to ameliorate that commixture" (Passig 2001, 2002, 2003). The melioration skill is recognized as being of great importance because of the necessity of amassing, selecting, discarding, and combining a large quantity of data sources quickly, in order to create and formulate new ideas.

Sixty students took part in this study. They were enrolled in a Teachers' College that was trained to become science teachers.

The participants in the experiment were expected to do something hitherto unheard of in teacher training: They were to create new contexts including scientific and cultural knowledge, which would enable them to locate and organize relevant information, and to formulate ideas meaningful to them.

The concept of energy was chosen in teaching the cognitive skill of melioration. Researchers (Trumper 1996, 1997, 1997, Ben-Zvi 1999) describe the concept of energy as central in the development of correct conceptualization in the exact sciences. They report on difficulties in getting that concept across to teacher trainees. The program of intervention for the nurturing of meliorative thinking combined themes of cognition and motivation in the learning process.

It may be cautiously maintained that the participants in the intervention program demonstrated, at the program’s conclusion, patterns of cognition which reflect meliorative thinking. They succeeded in making connections between mutually distant areas of content, abandoned close-mindedness, demonstrated creative thinking and openness to understanding conditions and situations, and revealed a high level of motivation for teaching in a pedagogical environment (Levin 1998). All this was accomplished while achieving improvement in cognitive skills.

References

  • Ben-Zvi, R. (1999) Non-Science oriented students and the second law of thermodynamics. International Journal of Science Education Vol. 21[12] pp. 1251-1267
  • Passig, D. (2001) A taxonomy of ICT mediated future thinking skills. In Taylor, H. and Hogenbirk, P. (2001) Information and Communication Technologies in Education: The School of the Future. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, pp.152-166.
  • Passig, D. (2002) The Melioration as a High Order Cognitive Skill of Future Intelligence. In Hebrew. www.passig.com/pic/MeliorationHeb.htm
  • Passig, D. (2003) A Taxonomy of Future Higher Thinking skills. Informatica Vol 2 No 1, 79-92. Insitute of Mathematics and Informatics, Vilnius.
  • Trumper, R. (1997a) The Need for Change in Elementary School Teacher Training - The Case of Energy Concept as an Example. Educational Research, Vol. 39 No.2 pp.157-174.
  • Trumper, R. (1997b) Applying Conceptual Conflict Strategies in The Learning of the Energy Concept Research in Science & Technological Education. Vol.15 pp.5-19
  • Trumper, R. (1996) A Survey of Israeli Physics Students’ Conception of Energy in Pre-Service Training for High School Teachers. Research in Science & Technological Education Vol. 14 pp. 179-183



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