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Working in multiple figured worlds and positionings to reinvestigate the science behind a national tragedy

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This article outlines research that intersects the fields of drama and science education. It highlights the value of using positioning theory and figured worlds to illuminate how the concept of Mantle of the Expert supports science learning. Drama has been found to enhance engagement and learning in science, but its use is uncommon. This article reports on a mixed-methods action research project that examined whether Mantle of the Expert supported or constrained the learning of science with 29 New Zealand students in Years 7 and 8. Data generated from students pre- and post-unit assessments, observations of classroom episodes, student and teacher interviews, and classroom artefacts were analysed statistically and thematically. The positioning triad of position, storyline and speech acts was used to show how the different components of Mantle of the Expert supported science learning. Examining the different figured worlds within which the students operated illuminated the different affordances of each learning space. In addition, the data showed that the students improved significantly in their conceptual understanding of the science taught and provided an opportunity to work within an expert scientist role.
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Keywords: Mantle of the Expert; drama education; figured worlds; positioning theory; science education; sustained play

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Publication date: August 1, 2019

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