Browsing by Subject "MENTAL MODELS"

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  • Kokkonen, Tommi; Mäntylä, Terhi (2018)
    One well-known learning obstacle is that students rarely use the concepts in the way that scientists use them. Rather, students mix up closely related concepts and are inclined towards matter-based conceptualisations. Furthermore, some researchers have argued that certain difficulties are rooted in the student's limited repertoire of causal schemes. These two aspects are conveniently represented in the recent proposal of the systemic view of concept learning. We applied this framework in our analyses of university students' explanations of DC circuits and their use of concepts such as voltage, current and resistance. Our data consist of transcribed group interviews, which we analysed with content analysis. The results of our analysis are represented with directed graphs. Our results show that students had a rather refined ontological knowledge of the concepts. However, students relied on rather simple explanation models, but few students were able to modify their explanations during the interview. Based on the analysis, we identified three processes of change: model switch, model refinement and model elaboration. This emphasises the importance of relevant relational knowledge at a later stage of learning. This demonstrates how concept individuation and learning of relational structures occurs (and in which order) and sets forth interesting research questions for future research.
  • Savec, Vesna Ferk; Urankar, Bernarda; Aksela, Maija; Devetak, Iztok (2017)
    The main purpose of this paper is to present Slovenian and Finnish prospective chemistry teachers' perceptions of their future profession, especially with regard to their understanding of the role of the triple nature of chemical concepts (macro, submicro and symbolic) and their representations in chemistry learning. A total of 19 prospective teachers (10 Slovenian, 9 Finnish) at master's level in chemical education participated in the research. The prospective teachers' opinions were gathered using an electronic questionnaire comprising six open-ended questions. The study revealed many parallels between Slovenian and Finnish prospective chemistry teachers' perceptions of their future profession and their understanding of the role of the triple nature of chemical concepts, especially particle representations, in chemistry learning. The majority of the prospective teachers from both countries believe that personal characteristics are the most important attribute of a successful chemistry teacher. Thus, they highly value teachers' enthusiasm for teaching and the use of contemporary teaching approaches in chemistry. The prospective teachers displayed an adequate understanding of the role of the triple nature of chemical concepts (i.e., particle representations) in the planning and implementation of a specific chemistry lesson.
  • La Mere, Kelsey Maggan; Mäntyniemi, Samu; Haapasaari, Päivi (2020)
    In the Baltic Sea region, salmon are valued for the ecological, economic, and cultural benefits they provide. However, these fish are threatened due to historical overfishing, disease, and reduced access to spawning rivers. Climate change may pose another challenge for salmon management. Therefore, we conducted a problem-framing study to explore the effects climate change may have on salmon and the socio-ecological system they are embedded within. Addressing this emerging issue will require the cooperation of diverse stakeholders and the integration of their knowledge and values in a contentious management context. Therefore, we conducted this problem framing as a participatory process with stakeholders, whose mental models and questionnaire responses form the basis of this study. By framing the climate change problem in this way, we aim to provide a holistic understanding of the problem and incorporate stakeholder perspectives into the management process from an early stage to better address their concerns and establish common ground. We conclude that considering climate change is relevant for Baltic salmon management, although it may not be the most pressing threat facing these fish. Stakeholders disagree about whether climate change will harm or benefit salmon, when it will become a relevant issue in the Baltic context, and whether or not management efforts can mitigate any negative impacts climate change may have on salmon and their fishery. Nevertheless, by synthesizing the stakeholders' influence diagrams, we found 15 themes exemplifying: (1) how climate change may affect salmon, (2) goals for salmon management considering climate change, and (3) strategies for achieving those goals. Further, the stakeholders tended to focus on the riverine environment and the salmon life stages occurring therein, potentially indicating the perceived vulnerability of these life stages to climate change. Interestingly, however, the stakeholders tended to focus on traditional fishery management measures, like catch quotas, to meet their goals for these fish considering climate change. Further, social variables, like “politics,” “international cooperation,” and “employment” comprised a large proportion of the stakeholders' diagrams, demonstrating the importance of these factors for salmon management.