copyright 2007 PeterMothersole.com


My research has been particularly influenced by the following people.



Charles Sander Peirce (1839 - 1914) the American philosopher who was one of the co-founders of the subject we now call semiotics, the other being Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 - 1913  ) the German born, Swiss linguist;




Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (1896 - 1934 ) the Soviet psychologist , who did ground breaking work in constructivist learning theory;




David Joseph Bohm (1917 - 1992) the American theoretical physicist and philosopher who considered that perception was dependent on continuous abstraction.


Constructivist learning and Pedagogical Content Kowledge (PCK)

Like me there are many teachers who are convinced that it is impossible to simply and directly transfer our understanding of a subject to students. Although we might come to agree on some knowledge, we each construct our own model of our world. However, the question arises as to the role the teacher plays in the learning process. I've spent most of my working life trying to figure out some of the possible answers to this question.

In my doctorate I tried to model the so-called pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of a physics teacher. This knowledge goes beyond the subject itself to include knowledge of how best to put such ideas across to students. I focused on trying to understand how the physics teacher (and hence science or mathematics teacher) might structure their conceptual understanding and represet it for sstudents.



My work moved me to attempt to understand how science teachers visually represent their knowledge for students to learn from. This led me to a fascination for the role played by signs and symbols in representing concepts in our everyday life.


Computer-based learning?

When computer hardware and software became more affordable to schools and universities it became possible to consider the use of such technology in helping in the learning process. With the development of the Internet and mobile devices this technological experiment continued. However, some people may foolishly consider such technology as a replacement for the human teacher-student interaction. Technology is just a means of presenting data, perhaps interpreted appropriately by the student as information to them, and in turn, hopefully used to aid in the construction of their knowledge.


My continuing research is concerned with understanding the role played by semiotics in teaching and learning, and how this influences the development of interactive CAL software.