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A Theoretical and Methodological Approach to Examine Young Learners’ Cognitive Engagement in Science Learning

A Theoretical and Methodological Approach to Examine Young Learners’ Cognitive Engagement in Science Learning
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Author(s): Meng-Fang Tsai (Chung-Yuan Christian University, Taiwan) and Syh-Jong Jang (Chung-Yuan Christian University, Taiwan)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 20
Source title: Approaches and Strategies in Next Generation Science Learning
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Myint Swe Khine (University of Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain) and Issa M. Saleh (University of Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2809-0.ch004

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Abstract

Children start learning science in formal school settings as early as kindergarten ages. Scientific literacy is an essential component in forming science curriculum for students’ knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts across grades and with different scientific disciplines. Students’ cognitive engagement is displayed through different levels of cognitive processes involved during their knowledge construction. Much of the research in students’ cognitive engagement of science learning focuses on older students and the use of self-report measures on their cognitive strategies. Research on young learners’ cognitive engagement in science learning is missing in current literature. Part of the reason may be young learners are just beginning to develop a repertoire of cognitive strategies as well as lacking sufficient linguistic competence to accurately articulate the cognitive strategies involved in their science learning. The chapter introduces a theoretical and methodological approach, quantitative content analysis, to fulfill the gap. The chapter manifests the approach through three perspectives: (a) methodological approaches being employed in current studies of cognitive engagement in science learning, (b) the need for a different methodological approach for young learners, and (c) how this particular approach can be adopted in future research on young learners’ cognitive engagement in science learning.

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