Implementing knowledge building: Analysis of a face‐to‐face discussion by grade‐four students

Jan van Aalst, Michael Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Researchers say that teachers can implement an educational innovation without adhering to the principles underpinning its design. Such principles may not adequately take typical classroom conditions into account. The goal of this study was to explore tensions between attempts to implement the principles underpinning knowledge building and the influence of contextual factors that compete for the teacher’s attention. To this end, we discuss five excerpts from a discussion of the motion of spinning tops held by a class of Grade‐4 students, coming at the end of a five‐month implementation of knowledge building. Each excerpt is followed first by the teacher's perspective and then by the researcher's perspective. Our analysis highlights two tensions that constrain agency, arising from the students’ need for social development and their need to learn scientific concepts. We offer some suggestions for addressing these tensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-368
Number of pages18
JournalCanadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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