Pre-service science teachers’ understanding of argumentation
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The study is part of a larger project concerned with addressing the problem that Eritrean science teachers face in their attempt to implement a new learner-centred science curriculum. Specifically, the study attempted to determine the effects of the use of an Argumentation-Based Instructional Model (ABIM) on 25 pre-service science teachers’ understanding of argumentation and its role in science teaching. Responses to an open-ended Learner-Centred Argumentation Instruction Questionnaire and interview responses were analysed qualitatively using open coding and the generation of categories. The Contiguity Argumentation Theory categories were also used to describe the type of cognitive shifts made by the group of pre-service teachers. The findings show that as a result of their experience with ABIM, the participants: (a) made noticeable cognitive shifts from seeing argumentation as a debate to win a case to a form of dialogue for reaching consensus; (b) became aware of the difference between everyday and scientific types of argumentation; and (c) came to recognize the important role that argumentation could play in science education.