Title page for ETD etd-08012003-091356

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Human, Salome
Email shuman@postino.up.ac.za
URN etd-08012003-091356
Document Title Children's thinking in formal contexts : accommodating chaos and complexity in cognitive intervention
Degree PhD(Educational Psychology)
Department Educational Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof Dr A C Bouwer
  • design experiment
  • qualitative research
  • cognition
  • chaos
  • ATLAS/ti
  • complexity
  • cognitive intervention
Date 2003-07-30
Availability unrestricted
This study is about the conditions that may serve as prerequisites for the development of self-regulated learning (SRL). In the context of educational psychology, SRL is not only about the formal aspects of managing one's learning, but also the motivational and affective processes that drive learning, as well as the social and political arena which provide the context for learning. In this study, I will propose that personal, social and political factors can combine in complex ways to produce a learning situation which cannot be addressed adequately without addressing its inherent complexity.

I examine some current issues in cognition and cognitive intervention and begin by drawing attention to some problematic aspects concerning children's thinking from an educational and psychological point of view. I review the sociopolitical context in which the conceptualisation and implementation of outcomes based education (OBE) and Curriculum 2005 takes place in South Africa and I also discuss some issues pertaining to the study of cognition from a more psychological point of view. I also address issues of complexity by examining how the meaning of the word has changed in response to changing paradigms in science and psychology and suggest that complexity theory is a metaphor that best fits current knowledge about cognition and problem-solving.

Since this study is about the accommodation of complexity in cognitive intervention, an important feature of this study concerns a specific characteristic of complex systems, namely chaos. Chaos allows self-organisation in a complex system and is also the main reason why change in a chaotic system is non-linear and unpredictable. It is generally believed that complex systems need to be studied in an unrestricted context if one is to observe those features that lend the system its chaotic character. In the context of the present study, complexity and chaos are hypothesised to be necessary prerequisites for the development of children as self-regulated learners because they form the mechanisms by which cognitive change becomes possible.

The research was carried out in two phases. In Phase One of the research, classroom observations were made and the Mediational Behaviour Observation Scale (MBOS) was especially designed for this purpose. Phase Two of the research was carried out in an intervention context by means of a design experiment. Verbatim transcriptions were made of the interaction between the researcher and the learners in nine group sessions which formed part of the design experiment. To enhance the reliability and validity of the data, re-coding and intra-coding consistencies were calculated before the data were analysed. The re-coding consistencies ensured that the subsequent analysis of patterns would enable reliable conclusions to be drawn, whereas the intra-coding consistencies helped to refine the MBOS by indicating which categories may have been flawed, poorly described or impure. As such, the examination of the intra-code consistencies could perhaps be likened to factor analysis which resulted in some codes being merged and others being rejected. These data were used to construct a revised and shortened version of the MBOS.

Some of the more important results of the data-analysis on the design experiment indicated that when complexity and chaos are encouraged in cognitive intervention, some of the mediator behaviours that are most likely to be observed are (i) guidance of the way in which learners execute tasks, (ii) attempts to engage learners in group discussions, (iii) modelling or requiring learners to explore tasks systematically, (iv) positive interactions such as acknowledging responses or praising learners, (v) modelling analytical thinking and (vi) probing of learners' responses.

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  00front.pdf 259.15 Kb 00:01:11 00:00:37 00:00:32 00:00:16 00:00:01
  01chapter1.pdf 325.63 Kb 00:01:30 00:00:46 00:00:40 00:00:20 00:00:01
  02chapter2.pdf 302.88 Kb 00:01:24 00:00:43 00:00:37 00:00:18 00:00:01
  03chapter3.pdf 393.24 Kb 00:01:49 00:00:56 00:00:49 00:00:24 00:00:02
  04chapter4.pdf 681.10 Kb 00:03:09 00:01:37 00:01:25 00:00:42 00:00:03
  05chapter5.pdf 734.05 Kb 00:03:23 00:01:44 00:01:31 00:00:45 00:00:03
  06chapter6.pdf 131.28 Kb 00:00:36 00:00:18 00:00:16 00:00:08 < 00:00:01
  07references.pdf 120.87 Kb 00:00:33 00:00:17 00:00:15 00:00:07 < 00:00:01
  08exhibits.pdf 1.66 Mb 00:07:39 00:03:56 00:03:26 00:01:43 00:00:08

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