The use of examples in school science: Developing an analytical tool to enable a discussion in science teacher education


  • Gerd Johansen Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Miranda Rocksén University of Gothenburg
  • Birgitte Bjønness Norwegian University of Life Sciences



examples, science teacher education, biology, epistemic affordance, genre


Examples play important roles in science teaching as vehicles for both conceptual learning and affective engagement. In this article, we develop an analytical tool that deconstructs and deliberates on the use of examples in school science. This analytical tool approaches examples as part of social interactions in the classroom. The tool can be used to deconstruct the use of examples by identifying the relations among the actors, the types of knowledge and how knowledge is communicated. The tool then facilitates a deliberation on examples’ epistemic affordance – their potential for pupils’ learning. We apply the analytical tool on empirical materials from two classrooms where teachers and pupils (aged 15–16) work with examples connected to evolution, genes and traits. We presume that if this analytical tool is applied on authentic classroom materials in pre-service training, student teachers will benefit when they design or re-use examples in their own future teaching practices.






opyright (c) 2014-2020 Simon Fraser University * Copyright (c) 2003-2020 John Willinsky * Distributed under the GNU GPL v3. For full terms see the file docs/COPYING. * * @brief Common site frontend footer. * * @uses $isFullWidth bool Should this page be displayed without sidebars? This * represents a page-level override, and doesn't indicate whether or not * sidebars have been configured for thesite. *}