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Cultivating constructivist science internships for high school students through a community of practice with cogenerative dialogues

Research paper by Pei-Ling Hsu, Penelope Espinoza

Indexed on: 29 Oct '17Published on: 26 Oct '17Published in: Learning Environments Research



Abstract

Working with scientists has been suggested as an effective way for high-school students to learn authentic science. However, little research has involved students’ perceptions of science learning environments in a university internship. This study drew on the theoretical framework of community of practice with cogenerative dialogues to design an internship program that aims to build a constructivist internship for students. Students who learned science in the internship program developed stronger constructivist learning perceptions than those who learned science in school. Specifically, students perceived that they had more opportunities to think independently of the instructors and other students. Three effective principles for program design are: (a) high school students conduct open-inquiry projects with the support of scientists; (b) high school students and scientists conduct cogenerative dialogues regularly to address issues and share experiences; and (c) high school students present their project proposals and scientific findings at open house events. Implications of the results are discussed.