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Moving from “Fuzziness” to Canonical Knowledge: The Role of Writing in Developing Cognitive and Representational Resources

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Chapter Summary

Over the last twenty-five years, the role of writing in science, as a means to build students' conceptual understandings, has shed much light on cognitive, social and linguistic benefits. From a cognitive science perspective, Klein (2006) suggested that students engaged in the processes of narrative writing in the content area of science start from a position in which their initial ideas have a degree of "fuzziness" and then develop to a position of canonically accepted knowledge in science. This chapter brings together theoretical perspectives from cognitive psychology, cognitive and social development, and science education to develop a richer understanding of writing in relation to students' reasoning and teachers' classroom practice. The chapter investigates pedagogical practices that lend to students' critique and negotiation of ideas, and explores how this negotiation moves students from their initial "fuzziness" to greater scientific canonical knowledge.

Keywords: fuzziness; canonical knowledge; cognitive benefit; cognitive psychology; Klein; linguistic benefit; pedagogical practices; social benefit; students' conceptual understandings



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