Elementary School Science Learning Culture: Article Review

The paper entitled “The Development of a Semiotic Approach to Explore the Messages of Elementary School Science Learning Culture” by Shapiro and Kirby discusses various educational techniques that develop the semiotic learning approach. The student learning process is not solely derived from teachers’ direct transmission of information. Rather, it is an assimilation of the complete set of the educational system that the students are exposed to (Shapiro & Kirby, 1999). This study is very informative as it explicates the techniques that can help make student’s life more dynamic, interactive, and productive. It contains commendable topics that the educational system can apply to improve student learning performance. There are features of learning that are often overlooked, even though they significantly contribute to the understanding of science. The four-walled classroom education system must be enhanced and converted to environments that make each side of the room independently informative. This is made possible by the semiosis process- the utilization of sign-making and emphasis on semiotic skills and structures. Using a semiotic approach in education help to augment the intellectual skills of elementary students from books.

It is important to note that the paper is not merely introducing theories that are complicated to understand. Rather, it points out the structures that are already prevalent and existing in the current educational system. In this paper, the semiotic approach emphasizes the learning process through subtle signs, symbols, posters, furniture arrangement, the presence of tools, extra classrooms for experience, etc. As specifically stated, guiding rules are suggested to be applied from the school’s entry to the individual rooms and corners of the educational setting. These are the detailed enhancement of the educational environment that creates a lasting impact on both the students and teachers.  Indeed, a semiotic environment for learning creates a powerful, novel, and sophisticated way of providing advanced education for this generation and the other generations to come.

The educational system, especially in the elementary stage, always presupposes homework. In fact, all students are familiar with this word. The paper entitled “The Study of Homework and Other Examples” by Alfie Kohn explores the topic of homework. Based on the paper, there is no evidence that home works given at school produces better academic performance for students. There is also no proof that students gain academic and non-academic benefits (Kohn, 2006). In fact, based on surveys of students, the presence of homework had no meaningful effect on their academic performance. Home works complicate the computation of grades as teachers include them in the final grades. The homework which is considered compulsory is not always a guarantee of better learning results. It is rather treated like a burden to students.

Despite the various research that reveals the relevance of homework in the educational system, it is worthy of note that home works still imposed on students today. This is very ironic since no research guarantees its effect on students’ academic performance, yet it is still promoted as part of the strategies for teaching. Most of the people from the academe insist that there are positive results from assigning homework. They continuously claim that home works produce positive things such as study habits, an extended learning environment, and discipline. There is a contrast between the applied educational strategies and the results of various research. Teachers and instructors may have seen the value of homework but have not caged them yet with definite and absolute results. There is a continuous quest for knowledge in the academic field that aims to promote better and more effective teaching. Despite the views of various researchers, being at school would still mean that homework is given to students.



Kohn, A. (2006, September). Abusing Research: The Study of Homework and Other Examples. Phi          Delta Kappa International, vol. 88, No. 1, pp. 8-22

Shapiro, B. & Kirby, D. (1999). The Development of a Semiotic Approach to Explore the Messages of             Elementary School Science Learning Culture. TOWARD SCIENTIFIC LITERACY, HPSST             Conference Proceedings, pp. 686-699

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