Scaffolding Student Understanding in Small-Group Work: Students’ Uptake of Teacher Support in Subsequent Small-Group Interaction

Janneke van de PolNeil Mercer, & Monique Volman

Adaptive support that is gradually faded seems most effective in fostering students’ uptake of a teacher’s support during small-group work.

In this mixed-methods study, van de Pol et al. focused on how adaptive support promotes students’ learning. They analyzed all interactions from 35 lessons of seven secondary social studies teachers. Results showed that discussing and using teachers’ support in small-groups helped students learn. They hypothesized that when the provided support was adaptive to the students’ understanding, it would be easier for them to use (which would in turn improve their learning). However, the effects of the adaptiveness of support seemed to be hampered by untimely fading of the support; teachers often walked away from the group too soon. Yet, adaptive support that is gradually faded seemed most effective in fostering students’ uptake of a teacher’s support during small-group work.

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On the Goals of Epistemic Education: Promoting Apt Epistemic Performance

Sarit Barzilai & Clark A. Chinn

What does it take to perform well in a post-truth world? Check out this new paper by Barzilai and Chinn on the goals of epistemic education.

In this paper, Barzilai and Chinn tackle the question: What are the objectives of promoting epistemic growth in educational contexts? Barzilai and Chinn synthesize current research in epistemic cognition and virtue epistemology to develop a new answer to this question. They argue that the goals of epistemic education should be to promote learner’s apt epistemic performance, defined as successful achievement of epistemic aims through competence. Drawing on their own and others’ research, they unpack what such performance involves. Their analysis offers a guide for incorporating epistemic growth goals into the design of instruction in diverse areas.

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Using Everyday Language to Support Students in Constructing Thematic Representations

Sarah Levine

Sara Levine

In this study, published in the first issue of 2019, "students constructed thematic interpretations with sentence stems using everyday interpretive language, such as “Reading this story suggests the world can be a place where _____.”

With no additional instruction, experimental groups constructed more thematic interpretations and made fewer happiness-bound interpretations than a comparison group. Results suggest that students are more capable of thematic interpretation than some research indicates and that everyday interpretive language may help disrupt students’ school-based framing of thematic interpretation."


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Seeing in the Dark: Embodied Cognition in Amateur Astronomy Practice

Flávio S. Azevedo and Michele J. Mann

Flavio Azevedo

In this study, published in the first issue of 2018, Azevedo and Mann contribute to our understanding of embodied cognition. They use an interactionist analysis to examine how the body is involved, moment by moment, as a resource for producing and communicating meaning during field activity. Their study uncovers "important, novel forms of embodied action and reasoning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics practices".

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What Do We Teach When We Teach the Learning Sciences? A Document Analysis of 75 Graduate Programs

Daniel Sommerhoff, Andrea Szameitat, Freydis Vogel, Olga Chernikova, Kristina Loderer & Frank Fischer

In their new study, Daniel Sommerhoff et al. take a close look at learning sciences programs worldwide; which disciplines are involved and what constitutes core concepts and methods? They discuss their results in terms of communities of practice, with a conceptual and methodological core and an "orbit" with strong influences from other disciplines, possibly driving innovation within the learning sciences.

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