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Conceptual Variation or Incoherence? Textbook Discourse on Genes in Six Countries
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences. (SMEER)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences. (SMEER)
State University of Paraiba, Joao Pessoa Brazil.
Federal University of Bahia, Salvador Brazil.
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2014 (English)In: Science & Education, ISSN 0926-7220, E-ISSN 1573-1901, Vol. 23, no 2, 381-416 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to investigate in a systematic and comparative way the results of independent studies on the treatment of genes and gene function in high school textbooks from six different countries. We analyze how the conceptual variation within the scientific domain of Genetics regarding gene function models and gene concepts is transformed via the didactic transposition into school science textbooks. The findings indicate that a common textbook discourse on genes and their function exists in textbooks from the different countries. The structure of science as represented by conceptual variation and the use of multiple models was present in all the textbooks. However, the phenomenon of conceptual variation and multiple models is implicit in these textbooks and this brings, as a consequence, the introduction of conceptual incoherence about the gene concept and gene function models within these resources. We conclude that within the textbook discourse on genes found in our study ontological aspects of the academic disciplines of Genetics and Molecular Biology were retained, but without their epistemological underpinnings; these are lost in the didactic transposition. Also within the textbooks explanatory models and concepts that promote a deterministic notion of the gene were found to be most frequent. These results are of interest since students might have problems reconstructing the correct scientific understanding from the transformed school science knowledge as depicted within the high school textbooks. Implications for textbook writing as well as science teaching are discussed in the paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Netherlands: Springer Netherlands, 2014. Vol. 23, no 2, 381-416 p.
Keyword [en]
Conceptual variation, Didactic transposition, Genetics, Genetic determinism, High school, Textbook
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-30140DOI: 10.1007/s11191-012-9499-8ISI: 000330996600008OAI: diva2:666469
Available from: 2013-11-22 Created: 2013-11-22 Last updated: 2015-12-28Bibliographically approved

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Gericke, NiklasHagberg, Mariana
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