1st Edition

Student Thinking and Learning in Science Perspectives on the Nature and Development of Learners' Ideas

By Keith S. Taber Copyright 2014
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    This readable and informative survey of key ideas about students’ thinking in science builds a bridge between theory and practice by offering clear accounts from research, and showing how they relate to actual examples of students talking about widely taught science topics.

    Focused on secondary students and drawing on perspectives found in the international research literature, the goal is not to offer a comprehensive account of the vast literature, but rather to provide an overview of the current state of the field suitable for those who need an understanding of core thinking about learners’ ideas in science, including science education students in teacher preparation and higher degree programs, and classroom teachers, especially those working with middle school, high school, or college level students. Such understanding can inform and enrich science teaching in ways which are more satisfying for teachers, less confusing and frustrating for learners, and so ultimately can lead to both greater scientific literacy and more positive attitudes to science.



    Section 1. Student conceptions and science 
    Introduction. The things students say: learners’ ideas about science topics 
    Chapter 1. Why is learning science so difficult for many students? 
    Chapter 2. Characterising and labelling learners’ ideas 
    Chapter 3. Alternative conceptions of learning 

    Section 2. Making sense of student thinking 
    Chapter 4. Innateness and development: cognitive biases influencing learners’ ideas 
    Chapter 5. Developing intuitions about the world 
    Chapter 6. The role of language in learning science 
    Chapter 7. The influence of everyday beliefs 
    Chapter 8. Thinking about knowing and learning: Metacognitive and epistemological limitations on science learning 
    Chapter 9. Integrating knowledge and constructing conceptual frameworks 

    Section 3. Diagnosing student thinking in science learning 
    Chapter 10. A provisional synthesis: Learning, teaching, and ‘bugs’ in the system 
    Chapter 11. The science teacher as learning doctor 
    Chapter 12. Science teaching informed by an appreciation of student thinking


    Keith S. Taber is University Reader in Science Education, University of Cambridge, UK.

    "I encourage science teachers of all specialities who are looking to enhance their classroom practice to pick up a copy of Student thinking and learning in science and accept Keith’s challenge to take on the role of ‘a science learning doctor’ and look to diagnose, prevent and ultimately cure bugs in their own teaching." - Catherine Smith, Education in Chemistry, Nov 2014