3. Understandings and Beliefs
Barry Saferstein [+]
California State University, San Marcos
Chapter Three examines how coherent understandings evolve, the endurance of process narratives and frames of reference, and the difficulties of modifying process narratives by continuing analysis of Chapter Two’s genetics learning activities. The biology students’ initial process narratives and their interpretive drift toward a descriptive frame of reference affect the creation of a mistaken understanding of the computer simulation’s pattern of trait inheritance. The students commit to certain process narratives even when the teacher disputes them and a computer simulation provides counterevidence. The data show how the students’ interpretation activities and resulting process narratives produce a belief system that is difficult to change. The cognitive intertwining of process narratives and interpretation activities is why recall of a particular process narrative triggers recall of relevant frames of reference, and particular information resources—all of which combine to constitute an understanding or a belief.