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dc.contributor.advisorLee, Melanie
dc.contributor.advisorGalbus, Julia
dc.contributor.advisorConaway, Charles A.
dc.contributor.authorWright, Carrie L.
dc.date.accessioned2019-12-09T18:13:42Z
dc.date.available2019-12-09T18:13:42Z
dc.date.issued2017
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12419/325
dc.descriptionThesis available in Rice Library University Archives and Special Collection.
dc.description.abstractScientific literacy is a primary goal of undergraduate introductory science education, and yet measures of this crucial pedagogical outcome among U.S. citizens indicate it is mediocre at best. Scientifically literate citizens sufficiently understand the concepts and the nature of science (NOS) -and can communicate that knowledge in writing -to actively participate in a global society grappling with issues such as climate change. However, many university students, both science majors and non-majors, lack understanding of the NOS and how to communicate science, leading to misconceptions that create barriers to scientific literacy. As an educational strategy to improve scientific literacy, Writing to Learn (WTL) is effective because it aligns with attributes of successful learning such as reinforcement, it encourages students to emulate the languaging processes of building scientific knowledge, and it also provides students with opportunities for the critical thinking, synthesis, and analysis needed for effectively engaging with and communicating science. To improve students' scientific communication skills and scientific literacy in the NOS, I developed a I0-step WTL curriculum for a I00-level historical geology course for majors and non-majors (N=22). Curriculum assignments include pre-curriculum writing, critical reading, in-class writing, instruction in argumentation, a research essay, structured peer review, revision plans, group work, and field presentations designed to emulate science epistemology. I evaluated pedagogical effectiveness by comparing the NOS literacy students exhibited in pre-curriculum writing with that exhibited in subsequent work, by analyzing the form and content of students' written arguments, and by surveying students at the end of the course. This thesis presents the results of these evaluative measures, describes each part of the curriculum and its theoretical underpinnings in science education research and composition studies, and discusses implications for future implementation and research. Results indicate that engaging students in the study of science through language arts-critical reading of and writing about scientific texts and the NOS-enhances the majority of students' scientific literacy. The epigenetic nature of writing as a process-its ability to shed light on a writer's evolution of thought-allows both the student and teacher to see improvements in understanding the NOS, and the ability to communicate that understanding.
dc.titleWriting to learn for scientific literacy : a rhetoric and composition studies-based curriculum for introductory historical geology
html.description.abstractScientific literacy is a primary goal of undergraduate introductory science education, and yet measures of this crucial pedagogical outcome among U.S. citizens indicate it is mediocre at best. Scientifically literate citizens sufficiently understand the concepts and the nature of science (NOS) -and can communicate that knowledge in writing -to actively participate in a global society grappling with issues such as climate change. However, many university students, both science majors and non-majors, lack understanding of the NOS and how to communicate science, leading to misconceptions that create barriers to scientific literacy. As an educational strategy to improve scientific literacy, Writing to Learn (WTL) is effective because it aligns with attributes of successful learning such as reinforcement, it encourages students to emulate the languaging processes of building scientific knowledge, and it also provides students with opportunities for the critical thinking, synthesis, and analysis needed for effectively engaging with and communicating science. To improve students' scientific communication skills and scientific literacy in the NOS, I developed a I0-step WTL curriculum for a I00-level historical geology course for majors and non-majors (N=22). Curriculum assignments include pre-curriculum writing, critical reading, in-class writing, instruction in argumentation, a research essay, structured peer review, revision plans, group work, and field presentations designed to emulate science epistemology. I evaluated pedagogical effectiveness by comparing the NOS literacy students exhibited in pre-curriculum writing with that exhibited in subsequent work, by analyzing the form and content of students' written arguments, and by surveying students at the end of the course. This thesis presents the results of these evaluative measures, describes each part of the curriculum and its theoretical underpinnings in science education research and composition studies, and discusses implications for future implementation and research. Results indicate that engaging students in the study of science through language arts-critical reading of and writing about scientific texts and the NOS-enhances the majority of students' scientific literacy. The epigenetic nature of writing as a process-its ability to shed light on a writer's evolution of thought-allows both the student and teacher to see improvements in understanding the NOS, and the ability to communicate that understanding.
dc.contributor.degreeMaster of Arts in English
dc.typeThesis (M.A.)--University of Southern Indiana, 2017


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