CREATE Science Seminar: Rosemary Russ


Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


252 Erickson Hall

Light refreshments available at 11:45 a.m. This presentation is followed by a one-hour discussion with graduate students and post-docs in 115 Erickson at 1:15 p.m.

Epistemological messages in teaching: What are they and why do they matter?

Rosemary Russ

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin

For decades, one of the central goals of science education has been to help students develop sophisticated understandings of the ways that scientific knowledge is constructed and evaluated. Recent NGSS reforms have further spurred a plethora of research aimed at cultivating and studying student epistemologies. In this talk, I discuss one teaching practice - attending to and interpreting student thinking – and explore the in-the-moment messages this practice sends students about the types of knowledge and learning valued in the classroom. I argue that although these meta-messages are subtle, they can none-the-less have dramatic short- and long-term effects on students’ epistemologies and engagement in science learning. As such, these messages may be a powerful lever for (in)equity and (in)justice in science classrooms. I present data from two research projects to demonstrate the intuitive plausibility of these claims and to illustrate the potential productivity of highlighting the messages for elementary pre-service teachers.

About the Speaker:
Rosemary S. Russ is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She studies the student scientific reasoning in K–16 classrooms and develops underlying models of teacher and student cognition that give rise to that reasoning. Her work assumes the existence of interplay between epistemological and conceptual knowledge during science and mathematics teaching and learning and qualitatively explores this interplay at a fine-grained level in both student and teacher thinking. Her research spans a range of contexts, methods, and analytic techniques and has been published in both science and mathematics education books/journals as well as teacher- and student- oriented journals. She received a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2010 to study student learning in clinical interviews and a National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 grant in 2013 to examine pre-service teacher learning in science methods courses..