Primary Physical Science for Student Teachers at Kindergarten and Primary School Levels: Part I: Foundations of an Imaginative Approach to Physical Science
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SubjectPrimary physics education; Pre-service teachers; Embodiment; Metaphor; Narrative; Cognitive science; FIS/08
This is a theoretical paper in which we describe the motivation for and the design of a novel primary physics course for student teachers at kindergarten and primary school levels that uses cognitive tools such as metaphor, analogy, and narrative. The course has been taught in the master’s program in teacher education at three Universities over the last 5 years. It is based upon a model of the experience of forces of nature that draws upon four existing frameworks in physics, narratology, cognitive linguistics, and a theory of the development of cognitive tools. In short, the course is created upon the foundations of an imaginative, metaphoric and narrative, approach to physical science in general and to forces of nature in particular. Student teachers who learn science based upon this model can more directly relate to how children themselves experience nature and become confident narrators of stories of forces of nature. We describe the notion of Force of Nature (“The Gestalt of Force of Nature”) and explain what we mean by cognitive tools (“Cognitive Tools: Tools of Imagination”) before showing in what sense modern macroscopic physics is both metaphoric and narrative at its core (“An Imaginative Approach to Physical Science”). In “A Systemic Imaginative Approach to Primary Physics”, we give an outline of what is needed in order to apply the approach to a course for primary physics for student teachers. In the final section, we will discuss some questions and challenges raised by this approach and show that it is a viable avenue to bringing together science and the humanities, both for research and for teaching.
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