Unintended learning in primary school practical science lessons from Polanyi’s perspective of intellectual passion

Park, Jisun and Song, Jinwoong and Abrahams, Ian (2016) Unintended learning in primary school practical science lessons from Polanyi’s perspective of intellectual passion. Science & Education, 25 (1). pp. 13-22. ISSN 0926-7220

Full content URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11191-01...

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Unintended learning in primary school practical science lessons from Polanyi’s perspective of intellectual passion
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Abstract

This study explored, from the perspective of intellectual passion developed by
Michael Polanyi, the unintended learning that occurred in primary practical science lessons.
We use the term ‘unintended’ learning to distinguish it from ‘intended’ learning that
appears in teachers’ learning objectives. Data were collected using video and audio
recordings of a sample of twenty-four whole class practical science lessons, taught by five
teachers, in Korean primary schools with 10- to 12-year-old students. In addition, video
and audio recordings were made for each small group of students working together in order
to capture their activities and intra-group discourse. Pre-lesson interviews with the teachers
were undertaken and audio-recorded to ascertain their intended learning objectives.
Selected key vignettes, including unintended learning, were analysed from the perspective
of intellectual passion developed by Polanyi. What we found in this study is that unintended
learning could occur when students got interested in something in the first place and
could maintain their interest. In addition, students could get conceptual knowledge when
they tried to connect their experience to their related prior knowledge. It was also found
that the processes of intended learning and of unintended learning were different. Intended
learning was characterized by having been planned by the teacher who then sought to
generate students’ interest in it. In contrast, unintended learning originated from students’
spontaneous interest and curiosity as a result of unplanned opportunities. Whilst teachers’
persuasive passion comes first in the process of intended learning, students’ heuristic
passion comes first in the process of unintended learning. Based on these findings, we argue that teachers need to be more aware that unintended learning, on the part of individual
students, can occur during their lesson and to be able to better use this opportunity
so that this unintended learning can be shared by the whole class. Furthermore, we argue
that teachers’ deliberate action and a more interactive classroom culture are necessary in
order to allow students to develop, in addition to heuristic passion, persuasive passion
towards their unintended learning.

Keywords:Unintended learning, Practical work, Primary science, Polanyi, Heuristic passion, JCOpen
Subjects:X Education > X121 Training Teachers - Infant (key stage 1)
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V590 Philosophy not elsewhere classified
X Education > X320 Academic studies in Primary Education
X Education > X120 Training Teachers - Primary
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
X Education > X122 Training Teachers - Junior (key stage 2)
X Education > X100 Training Teachers
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:19600
Deposited On:20 Nov 2015 08:56

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