Enhancing disciplinary literacy: problem-solving in introductory physics

The ECP Unit will host distinguished ECP researchers, Dr Honjiswa Conana and Prof Delia Marshall from UWC on 6 June 2017 as part of our on-going Teaching and Learning in ECP Seminar Series.


Delia Marshall

Honjiswa Conana

While the presentation offer specific insights in the disciplinary area of Physic education, the pedagogic practices and theoretical tools used to inform Honji and Delia’s work will be of value to all ECP lecturers keen to enhance their students’ access to disciplinary knowledge.

Seminar Abstract

How can research on academic literacies throw light on the challenge to widen access to undergraduate science studies? This talk will present a study conducted on the pedagogical practices and student learning in two undergraduate Physics courses, a mainstream and an extended course.

The focus of this talk will be on the disciplinary practice of problem-solving.  Concepts from the sociology of knowledge, specifically Legitimation Code Theory, will be shown to offer a useful analytical framework for characterising the movement between abstract principles and concrete contexts in problem-solving and understanding how meaning is encapsulated in the dense representations of physics. The study showed that with more time and careful pedagogical attention, the extended course was able to make more explicit the literacy practices and epistemological functioning of the discipline.  

The need for pedagogical approaches that make disciplinary knowledge more accessible and relevant to students has been foregrounded by the current South African debates on curriculum reform. In this paper, we touch on what this might mean for physics pedagogy.

VENUE: Fundani Preview Room, 2nd Floor Library Building, Bellville Campus

TIME: 12:45 – 2:00