Be aware of behaviour


Learning and teaching New Biology requires new educational approaches to acquire knowledge of (new) biology, competences to understand complex systems, acquiring new learning and teaching strategies. This thesis explores the development of a learning and teaching strategy (LT-strategy) wherein students acquire an understanding of the dynamic and complex nature of behaviour.
Students’ conceptual development is investigated by evaluating the interaction, reflection, and construction in an executed scenario. This thesis describes that the LT-strategy structures students’ conceptual development, for example by the use of concept maps. Analysis of the executed scenario showed that most students are able to conceptualise behavioural biology concepts adequately, and that students’ awareness of behaviour is evoked by the LT-strategy for behavioural biology. The LT-strategy also provides opportunities to recontextualise knowledge. Adequate reflection and knowledge construction tools provide for transition of knowledge from one educational practice to another.
It was concluded that an LT-strategy for behavioural biology could be constructed with the concept-context approach and the problem posing approach. The LT-strategy meets most of the design criteria. Systems thinking was only implicitly included, and a didactical approach for teaching and learning of systems thinking in behavioural biology in secondary education is explored.
The study contributes substantially to a design theory for context-based biology education. Two didactical structures are characteristic for the concept-context approach: contextual transposition (i.e. educational adaptation of an authentic social practice to a realistic context) and recontextualising. This thesis provides further empirical support for the concept-context approach. It shows that it is possible to design a feasible and effective LT-strategy based on a sequence of realistic contexts based on authentic social practices, and focussing on students’ conceptual development.