New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Art Studies as Tools for Understanding Observations in Science

Jan-Eric Mattsson, Södertörn University (Sweden)

Mikael Lönn, Södertörn University (Sweden)

Ann Mutvei, Södertörn University (Sweden)


Observations are fundamental in science but in order to be useful they have to include active cognitive activities based on perceived sensations. Further, to be communicated to and used by others these actions in their turn has to be transformed once more to written or spoken language. The ability of students to observe in this broad sense may promote interest for further science studies. In order to practice and visualize these processes different methods have been used. Here we present a method based on Roland Barthes concepts studium and punctum used during pre-service teacher training. About 60 students aiming at becoming primary school teachers (years 4-6) were monitored during the first two years of their education. The results on all course examinations (n=17) in different subjects during these years were compared to the quality of two reflective texts written by the students. One from the end of the first year on the impressions of art works by David Hockney or Bill Viola. Here primarily the concepts of Barthes were used for the assessment. The other was based on experiences of the students' when they at the end of second year returned to field sites used at the beginning of their studies to do repeated observations. They wrote reflections about their experiences not only about their observations in the field but also about their personal and professional development during these two first years of teacher training. These texts were analyzed by using the 4 R's of Doll's. In addition also the results of VARK tests assessing the learning style of the students were used in the analyses. The analyses show correlation between different skills but also some factors promoting science studies. In all used frameworks something appeared to correlate with the choice of further science studies. For example high marks in courses with oral or aesthetic examinations, rigor according to Doll in personal field reflections, high quality in studium reflections on art work and also with a visual learning strategy.



[1] Mattsson, J.-E. & Mutvei, A. “Aim: To practise scientific methods.
Result: Personal development.”   European Science Education Research Association, Nicosia,
2014, p. 188–195.
[4] Barthes, R. “La chambre claire – Note sur la photographie”, Le Seuill, Gallimard, 1980.
[6] Doll, W. E. J., “A post-modern perspective on curriculum” New York: Teacher College. 1993
[7] Mutvei, A., Lönn, M. & Mattsson, J.-E. ”Technology in Preschool: from idea to product.” Conference proceedings, New Perspectives in Science education 6th ed., Firenze. 2017.
[9] R Core Team. “R: A language and environment for statistical computing.” R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria, 2016. URL

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