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Teaching for Idea-based, Transformative Experiences in Science: An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Two Instructional Elements


by Kevin Pugh — 2002

This small-scale, exploratory study examines the effectiveness of two teaching elements (the artistic crafting of content and the modeling and scaffolding of perception and value) at fostering transformative experiences. The construct of a transformative experience was derived from Dewey’s work and is defined as an expansion of perception and value resulting from active use of a concept. The elements were used in teaching a unit on adaptation and evolution in a high school zoology class. Student outcomes were compared with those of students in a roughly equivalent (as determined by a preintervention survey) class in which the same unit was taught using a case-based model of instruction. Results indicate that a significantly greater percentage of students in the experimental class (52.9%) than students in the control class (22.7%) engaged in some degree of transformative experience. Further, it was found that students from both classes who engaged in at least some form of transformative experience scored significantly higher than other students on a follow-up assessment of understanding but not on a postintervention assessment of understanding.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 6, 2002, p. 1101-1137
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10985, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 4:20:19 AM

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About the Author
  • Kevin Pugh
    University of Toledo
    E-mail Author
    KEVIN J. PUGH is an assistant professor in the Foundations of Education Department at the University of Toledo. His research interests include Dewey’s philosophy (particularly his aesthetics as applied to education), science education, motivation, and technology. His recent publications include “Learning Science: A Deweyan Perspective” (Wong, Pugh, & the Deweyan Ideas Group at Michigan State University, 2001) published in The Journal of Research in Science Teaching and “Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations” (Zhao, Pugh, Beyers, & Sheldon, in press) to be published in Teachers College Record.
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