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Waving not drowning: practical ways
of helping students to cope with
complex ideas and concepts
Dr. Richard Pountney
‘Powerful knowledge’ as giving learners access to contexts beyond their experience in order
that cumulative knowledge buil...
Purpose and focus
1. Mapping knowledge in the curriculum
2. Semantic properties of knowledge
3. An example from practice
4...
Mapping knowledge in the curriculum
Activity
• Consider a curriculum topic that students
struggle in (or is difficult to t...
Concept mapping
Example showing
concepts and links
(propositions).
http://cmap.ihmc.us/
Semantic Plane
Semantic gravity – the degree to which meaning is dependent on context
Semantic density – the degree to whi...
Semantic profiles
A – high semantic flatline (theoretical and abstract)
B – low semantic flatline (practical and simple)
C...
Chefistry Expedition
Guiding Question: What has chemistry got to do with
cooking?
Underlying propositions and take-aways:
...
Introduction to the university context
Doing a science experiment: the cooling curve of water
Recording the data
Working with a scientist
Changing from a science context to a food context
Applying knowledge to practice
Reflecting on the process
What has science got to do with cooking?
• The expedition (private video)
• Learning with scientists (private video)
• Dem...
Experiential learning
(Maton, 2014)
Ways of deepening learning
Increasing the semantic threshold iteratively by strengthening and deepening
learning through t...
Conclusion
• If we pay attention to the semantic structure
of knowledge we can help students cope with
difficult concepts
...
Discussion
• Consider the idea of semantic waves in
relation to your subject / discipline and to
your teaching practice. W...
Further information
Links
• XP School: http://www.xpschool.org/
• Legitimation Code Theory (LCT): http://www.legitimationc...
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Waving not drowning

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Waving not drowning

  1. 1. Waving not drowning: practical ways of helping students to cope with complex ideas and concepts Dr. Richard Pountney
  2. 2. ‘Powerful knowledge’ as giving learners access to contexts beyond their experience in order that cumulative knowledge building can take place.
  3. 3. Purpose and focus 1. Mapping knowledge in the curriculum 2. Semantic properties of knowledge 3. An example from practice 4. Ways of deepening knowledge 5. Waving and weaving: applying semantic coding in HE practice 6. What next?
  4. 4. Mapping knowledge in the curriculum Activity • Consider a curriculum topic that students struggle in (or is difficult to teach) • List key ideas/concepts/topics related to scuba diving (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scuba_diving) • Locate these concepts on a continuum (simple/concrete to abstract/dense) • Select, order and sequence these into a course and map these onto semantic profiles • Consider the benefits of differing semantic wave forms Concrete / Simple Abstract / Dense
  5. 5. Concept mapping Example showing concepts and links (propositions). http://cmap.ihmc.us/
  6. 6. Semantic Plane Semantic gravity – the degree to which meaning is dependent on context Semantic density – the degree to which meanings are condensed within practices (Maton, 2014)
  7. 7. Semantic profiles A – high semantic flatline (theoretical and abstract) B – low semantic flatline (practical and simple) C – semantic wave (weakening and strengthening of context and density and a larger semantic range) (Maton, 2014)
  8. 8. Chefistry Expedition Guiding Question: What has chemistry got to do with cooking? Underlying propositions and take-aways: • A sense of entitlement to a university like Sheffield Hallam • Understanding that universities create and share knowledge • Knowledge is powerful because it gives you access to the world - to understand it and to change it if you need to. • You can think and act like an expert - by caring about, being mindful of, and paying close attention to knowledge • Knowledge is a thing in itself and it has properties - knowing something about the nature of knowledge is important because it helps us to create it, use it, to share it, and if we need to, to doubt it
  9. 9. Introduction to the university context
  10. 10. Doing a science experiment: the cooling curve of water
  11. 11. Recording the data
  12. 12. Working with a scientist
  13. 13. Changing from a science context to a food context
  14. 14. Applying knowledge to practice
  15. 15. Reflecting on the process
  16. 16. What has science got to do with cooking? • The expedition (private video) • Learning with scientists (private video) • Demonstrating learning (public video) (Maton, 2013)
  17. 17. Experiential learning (Maton, 2014)
  18. 18. Ways of deepening learning Increasing the semantic threshold iteratively by strengthening and deepening learning through the increase in conceptual links
  19. 19. Conclusion • If we pay attention to the semantic structure of knowledge we can help students cope with difficult concepts • This acknowledges that powerful knowledge enables learners to go beyond their contexts • It enables learners to develop knowledge literacy (the specialised language of the subject) in order that they can be more effective learners.
  20. 20. Discussion • Consider the idea of semantic waves in relation to your subject / discipline and to your teaching practice. What issues arise for you? What insights might be gained from this approach?
  21. 21. Further information Links • XP School: http://www.xpschool.org/ • Legitimation Code Theory (LCT): http://www.legitimationcodetheory.com/ • Concept mapping: http://cmap.ihmc.us/ • Social Realism seminar, 16.00, 2nd July 2015, at SHU led by Professor Elizabeth Rata and Dr. Graham McPhail • LCT UK Interest Group: contact Dr. Richard Pountney r.p.pountney@shu.ac.uk References Macnaught, L., Maton, K., Martin, J. R., & Matruglio, E. (2013). Jointly constructing semantic waves: Implications for teacher training. Linguistics and Education, 24(1), 50-63. Maton, K. (2014). Building powerful knowledge: the significance of semantic waves, in Barrett, B., & Rata, E. (Eds.). (2014). Knowledge and the Future of the Curriculum: International Studies in Social Realism. Palgrave Macmillan. Maton, K. (2013). Making semantic waves: A key to cumulative knowledge- building. Linguistics and Education, 24(1), 8-22.

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