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One aim of Gilmer’s captivating text on university pedagogy is to show that biochemistry (or any science) does not consist solely of facts to be learned, but is a way of thinking about the world. Her purpose, both in this book and in her classroom, is to make her students into critical thinkers rather than passive learners. The chapters cast a critical eye over research into enhanced education techniques such as collaborative learning. Gilmer describes the action research she conducted in her own biochemistry undergraduate classroom into ways of improving the learning environment. She offers various perspectives on the make-up of her classroom, including an analysis of ethnographic data.
The tools Gilmer employs as she hones her teaching skills include collaborative learning and technology. She views the classroom through various theoretical perspectives: social constructivism, cultural-historical activity theory, and a theory that involves the dialectic between the structure of the learning environment and the agency of the learners (a group among whom she includes herself). She provides a wealth of autobiographical detail as well as the results of her action research, which followed up on its original subjects after an interval of 11 years, to see what impact her course had on their professional growth. Above all, this volume is proof of what can be achieved in education when teachers are as interested in the process of learning as they are in their subject itself.
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Table of ContentsACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. DEDICATION. ABBREVIATIONS. TABLE OF CONTENTS. PREFACE.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCING THE STUDY
WHY STUDY A UNIVERSITY-LEVEL CLASSROOM?
WHAT ARE MY OBJECTIVES?
HOW DID I STRUCTURE THIS BOOK?
Power of Narrative
Crises in the Postmodern World
Crisis of Representation
Crisis of Legitimation
Crisis in Praxis
ORGANIZATION OF CHAPTERS
SOURCE OF QUESTIONNAIRES
CHAPTER 2 RESEARCHING SCIENCE TEACHING AND LEARNING
PREVIEW TO CHAPTER 2
WHAT’S ALREADY KNOWN?
Need for Reform
Research on Teaching Science in Higher Education
Research in College Science Teaching
Using Impressionistic Tales
Looking at Chemistry Teaching
Preparing Future Teachers of Science and Mathematics
United States’ Goal for K-12 in Science and Mathematics
Improving Teacher Preparation in Science
INTRODUCTION TO CASE STUDY OF A BIOCHEMISTRY CLASSROOM
How Do I Frame the Study?
What Are My Research Questions?
What Options Could I Choose to Transform My College Teaching?
What Genres Should I Use?
What Is This Study’s Significance?
DEVELOPING A RESEARCH PRACTICE
PREVIEW TO CHAPTER 3
CHOOSING THEORY AS A LENS TO INFORM RESEARCH PRACTICE
Matrix of Theoretical Frameworks
Theoretical Perspectives Utilized
Radical and Social Constructivism
Communities of Practice
Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action
Sewell’s Theory on Structure
Cultural Historical Activity Theory
Conducting a Qualitative Study
Fourth Generation Evaluation
Qualitative Data for the Action Research
EXAMINING CRITERIA FOR A QUALITATIVESTUDY
Quality Criteria for Ethnographic, Qualitative Data
2) Hermeneutic Process
3) Authenticity Criteria
Quality Criteria in Fiction Writing
Fiction Workshop Guidelines
Richardson’s Evocative Fictional Representation
Quality Criteria in the Metalogue
HANDLING AND MANAGING DATA
Facilities and Resources
Curtin University of Technology
Florida State University
National Research Council
National Association for Research in Science Teaching
SUMMARIZING THE CHOSEN METHODOLOGIES
WRITING A STORY ABOUT TEACHING UNIVERSITY SCIENCE
PREVIEW TO CHAPTER 4
ANALYZING A CLASSROOM BY WRITING A STORY ABOUT IT
How I Chose to Depict Learning
The Fictional Characters
Fictionalized Story from Biochemistry Classroom
WRITING THE STORY
Data SourcesMy Students
My Reflective JournalWhen Writing the Story
Worksheets as a Tool to Writing
Abbreviated Worksheets for CRW 4120, Story 2
Critical Feedback to Others in Fiction Workshop
Point of View in Fiction
In What Form?
At What Distance from the Action?
With What Limitations?
RECEIVING FEEDBACK ON STORY FROM MY STUDENTS
Mary, an African American Future High School Science Teacher
Franklin, an African American Premedical Student
Manny and Rebeka, Two Graduate Students, Trying to Work and Learn in Their Collaborative Group
SUMMARIZING THE CHAPTER
STUDENTS COLLABORATING IN THE CLASSROOM
PREVIEW TO CHAPTER 5
UTILIZING COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
DECIDING ON APPROACHES TO TEACH MY STUDENTS
Seeking Input from Biochemistry Colleagues
Site of My Action Research
CRITIQUING THE LEARNING