Impact of culture and context on senior secondary school physics students critical thinking

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Impact of culture and context on senior secondary school physics students critical thinking

This paper is on Impact of culture and context on senior secondary school physics students critical thinking

 It draws on a perspective of culture with roots in Vygotskian learning theory (Vygotsky, 1978). In this perspective, culture can be described as the shared way of living of a group of people. It is used to encompass commonly experienced aspects of the group’s lives, such as shared knowledge, backgrounds, values, beliefs, forms of expression and behaviours that may impact classroom interactions (Bishop, 2002; Bourdieu, 1984).

This means that the cultural practices that we engage in as we move across everyday, school and professional contexts both shape and constitute our learning. However, this can become a complicated concept in schools, where school and classroom cultures exist within broader cultural contexts (Clark 2001; Meaney, 2002). For some students, home and school cultures may be very different, so they need to operate differently in these contexts; for other students, these cultures may be more compatible (Bourdieu, 1984)

The above definition of culture resonates with principles of socio-cultural theories combined with elements of constructivist theory which provide a useful model of how students learn statistics. Constructivist theory in its various forms is based on a generally-agreed principle that learners actively construct ways of knowing as they strive to reconcile present experiences with already existing knowledge (Confrey & Kazak, 2006; von Glasersfeld, 1993). This active construction process may result in misconceptions and alternative views as well as the students learning the concepts intended by the teacher.