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postgraduate thesis: Using variation theory as a framework to enhance learning of informal reasoning in liberal studies

TitleUsing variation theory as a framework to enhance learning of informal reasoning in liberal studies
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Cheung, S. A. [張淑儀]. (2015). Using variation theory as a framework to enhance learning of informal reasoning in liberal studies. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5571471
AbstractThe education reform in Hong Kong has introduced Liberal Studies as one of the core subjects that all senior secondary students have to take and be assessed in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination starting from 2012. Liberal Studies teachers face the challenge on how to help students develop the capability of strong informal reasoning, which involves inference making, justification, etc., as required by the curriculum. This research aims to explore a theory-driven learning design which focuses on helping students remove their confirmation bias in inference-making, strengthening their informal reasoning. The research questions included (1) to what extent the application of variation theory can enhance students’ learning of informal reasoning, (2) in what ways teachers can enhance students’ making of stronger inference, and (3) in what ways teachers can facilitate students’ removing of confirmation bias making of stronger inference. Design-based research was adopted in this study. The teacher-researcher intervened in the task sheet design for the lesson. While the variation theory suggests that variation and invariance of critical aspects of the object of learning can enhance student learning, the teacher identified three critical aspects “Contextual Information”, Hypothesis” and “Evidence” based on her past experience and the literature on confirmation bias, and used the variation patterns Contrast, Separation and Fusion to help students discern the ‘critical aspects’ which may affect the impartiality of their inference. There were two cycles in this research. The participants of the research were3 cohorts of Form 6 students who studied AS-level Liberal Studies between 2007 and 2010. In the first cycle, the task sheets done in class by the 1stcohort of students were collected and analysed to explore how the experience of the variation and invariance of the critical aspects may have enhanced learning. Interview was also conducted to understand deeper students’ learning experience in becoming capable of discerning the critical aspects. The learning design was evaluated and slightly redesigned in the second cycle of the research. Data collected from the pretest and posttest of the second cycle of the research done on the 2ndand 3rdcohort of students were analysed quantitatively by the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test as well as the Paired T-Test. Furthermore, qualitative analysis was also done in analyzing the change in the strength of the inference in terms of students’ conjecturing of alternatives. The findings show that the application of variation theory can enhance students’ making of inference, especially in raising their conjecturing of alternatives and querying of evidence as they became more aware of alternate hypothesis affecting their reasoning. Students also became more aware of both confirming and disconfirming evidence and reduced their only choosing or interpreting evidence to confirm when they made their inference. This research suggests a theory-driven lesson design which teachers can easily grasp and adopt to facilitate students’ making of stronger inference, contributing to the Liberal Studies education in Hong Kong. It also contributes to the area of education research on how to enhance informal reasoning among senior secondary school students, which to date is still sparse. Furthermore, the application of variation theory in helping students acquire informal reasoning skills adds a new dimension to the current bulk of research on the use of variation theory in enhancing concept learning.
DegreeDoctor of Education
SubjectGeneral education - Study and teaching (Secondary) - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221014

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorCheung, Shuk-yee, Alice-
dc.contributor.author張淑儀-
dc.date.accessioned2015-10-22T23:11:39Z-
dc.date.available2015-10-22T23:11:39Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationCheung, S. A. [張淑儀]. (2015). Using variation theory as a framework to enhance learning of informal reasoning in liberal studies. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5571471-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221014-
dc.description.abstractThe education reform in Hong Kong has introduced Liberal Studies as one of the core subjects that all senior secondary students have to take and be assessed in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination starting from 2012. Liberal Studies teachers face the challenge on how to help students develop the capability of strong informal reasoning, which involves inference making, justification, etc., as required by the curriculum. This research aims to explore a theory-driven learning design which focuses on helping students remove their confirmation bias in inference-making, strengthening their informal reasoning. The research questions included (1) to what extent the application of variation theory can enhance students’ learning of informal reasoning, (2) in what ways teachers can enhance students’ making of stronger inference, and (3) in what ways teachers can facilitate students’ removing of confirmation bias making of stronger inference. Design-based research was adopted in this study. The teacher-researcher intervened in the task sheet design for the lesson. While the variation theory suggests that variation and invariance of critical aspects of the object of learning can enhance student learning, the teacher identified three critical aspects “Contextual Information”, Hypothesis” and “Evidence” based on her past experience and the literature on confirmation bias, and used the variation patterns Contrast, Separation and Fusion to help students discern the ‘critical aspects’ which may affect the impartiality of their inference. There were two cycles in this research. The participants of the research were3 cohorts of Form 6 students who studied AS-level Liberal Studies between 2007 and 2010. In the first cycle, the task sheets done in class by the 1stcohort of students were collected and analysed to explore how the experience of the variation and invariance of the critical aspects may have enhanced learning. Interview was also conducted to understand deeper students’ learning experience in becoming capable of discerning the critical aspects. The learning design was evaluated and slightly redesigned in the second cycle of the research. Data collected from the pretest and posttest of the second cycle of the research done on the 2ndand 3rdcohort of students were analysed quantitatively by the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test as well as the Paired T-Test. Furthermore, qualitative analysis was also done in analyzing the change in the strength of the inference in terms of students’ conjecturing of alternatives. The findings show that the application of variation theory can enhance students’ making of inference, especially in raising their conjecturing of alternatives and querying of evidence as they became more aware of alternate hypothesis affecting their reasoning. Students also became more aware of both confirming and disconfirming evidence and reduced their only choosing or interpreting evidence to confirm when they made their inference. This research suggests a theory-driven lesson design which teachers can easily grasp and adopt to facilitate students’ making of stronger inference, contributing to the Liberal Studies education in Hong Kong. It also contributes to the area of education research on how to enhance informal reasoning among senior secondary school students, which to date is still sparse. Furthermore, the application of variation theory in helping students acquire informal reasoning skills adds a new dimension to the current bulk of research on the use of variation theory in enhancing concept learning.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshGeneral education - Study and teaching (Secondary) - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleUsing variation theory as a framework to enhance learning of informal reasoning in liberal studies-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5571471-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Education-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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