Education Faculty Published
Douglas Llewellyn, Adjunct Faculty in the Educational Leadership program at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, has had an article published in the September issue of Science Scope, a journal from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
The article, entitled "Fostering Argumentation Skills: Doing What Real Scientists Really Do," highlights the role scientific argumentation plays in secondary school inquiry-based science classrooms. In inquiry science, students generate their own question, design an investigation to answer the question, and then carry out the investigation to collect the appropriate data. With the added stage of argumentation, students look for patterns and relationships within the data to make one or more claims. The students then justify, defend, and communicate their claims, coupled with supporting evidence and explanations, as oral or written arguments to the rest of the class. Others in the class can then offer counterclaims and alternative explanations, giving everyone a more realistic view of the nature of science.
The article includes an example from a science class in Hosur, India, where the teacher, who collaborated with Llewellyn on the article, has students engage in scientific arguments from their ecology investigations. Llewellyn concludes that the notion of scientific inquiry and argumentation advances the skills of wonder and skepticism; two 21st century critical thinking skills that lead to scientifically literate society.
The NSTA is a member-driven organization with 60,000 members. The organization publishes books and journals for science teachers from kindergarten through college. Each year, it hosts four conferences on science education: three regional events in the fall and a national gathering in the spring.