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What is 'teaching'? Perspectives from international research in science education

Francesco Cuomo

The video recording shows a room in which there are people, tables, chairs. A bell rings.

Somebody enters the room.

Something tells me that something is going to happen in the room that has something to do with somebody somehow teaching something and somebody somehow learning something.

I would call this a lesson.

Something tells me, however, that something more can be said about this 'lesson' thing. But wait!

First things first.

1 Foreword

My contribution to the present dialogue stands in a sense aside from to those of my colleagues. On the one hand, I am not a pedagogist or a social scientist, neither as to my background, which is in the natural sciences, nor as to my scholarly activity. On a continuum ranging from the theoretician to the practitioner I would position my work as a science education scholar somewhere near the midpoint. I was asked, in fact, to contribute to this dialogue from the perspective of science education research in its international dimension. I will do so without pretension of objectivity but will nevertheless give precedence to those elements in my personal position which are grounded in broader scholarly consensus.

Moreover, my addressing of the subject matter not only stems from an analysis of the history class which represents the common starting point in this publication but at the same time provides a commentary to the original contributions that constitute its core. I must acknowledge that, with respect to my colleagues, I have had the advantage of devising my text after attending the symposium and could therefore take elements emerged during the discussion into account. Indeed, I was asked by the organisers to emphasize aspects of the subject matter that I felt were missing in the symposium's discourse.

The reader can approach this writing as a counterpoint to the discourse presented by my colleagues in the previous sections.

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