Wolff-Michael Roth
  Lansdowne Professor, Applied Cognitive Science, Emeritus




 .main page

 .publication list
 .cv details

 .students & postdocs


 .ongoing research

   .MA, PhD

 .other pursuits
   .bee project
   .photo of month


co/editor of

.FQS: Forum Qualitative Social Research

2 book series: .SENSE: science & math
.SENSE: culture & history

contact address


Wolff-Michael Roth
MacLaurin Building A567
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC
V8P 5C2


favorite sites

  .Jay Lemke
  .Jean_François Maheux
  .Kenneth Tobin

  .Damien Vervust








update: 10-OCT-2018



 information about my books


Wolff-Michael ROTH, Adventures of Mind and Mathematics (Cham: Springer, 2020).

Based on pragmatic philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists, a dynamic approach to mind and mathematics is developed. Because events, which inherently come with novelty, rather than things are the starting point of understanding and theory, mind and mathematics advene, they are adventures, always coming with something that surprises us. Theoretical concepts are developed from practical examples.

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Janet C. RICHARDS and Wolff-Michael ROTH (Eds.), Empowering Students as Self-Directed Learners of Qualitative Research Methods: Transformational Practices for Instructors and Students (Leiden: Brill | Sense, 2020).

Qualitative research instructors desire learning about innovative, constructivist approaches that connect and empower students as a community of learners. This book meets these needs with practices and approaches instructors may use to position students as active, empowered, self-directed learners who learn to do qualitative research by doing qualitative research.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Transactional Psychology of Education: Toward a Strong Version of the Social (Cham: Springer, 2019).

In this book, the author articulates a transactional psychology of education drawing on the works of G.H. Mead, J. Dewey, G. Bateson, F. Mikhailov, and E. IlĠenkov. All theoretical positions are developed out of videotaped exchanges, thereby giving concrete character to every psychological concept articulated.

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Mijung KIM and Wolff-Michael ROTH, Dialogical Argumentation and Reasoning in Elementary Science Classrooms (Leiden | Boston: Brill, 2019).

The authors elaborate a theoretical approach in which argumentation first exists as a dialogical relation for participants who find themselves in dialogical relations with others. Students come to understand the grammar of argumentation only after they already are competent in knowing-how to engage in argumentation.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Dwelling, Building, Thinking: A Post-Constructivist Perspective on Education, Learning, and Development (Leiden | Boston: Brill, 2018).

In this book, the author presents a major challenge to (social) constructivism, which has become an ideology that few dare to critique. Transgressing the boundaries of this ideology, the author develops an alternative epistemology that takes dwelling as the starting point and ground. Dwelling enables building and thinking ("constructing").

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Norma PRESMEG, Luis RADFORD, Wolff-Michael ROTH, and Gert KADUNZ (Eds.) Signs of Signification: Semiotics in Mathematics Education Research (Dordrecht: Springer, 2018).

This book discusses a significant area of mathematics education research in the last two decades and presents the types of semiotic theories that are employed in mathematics education. This book not only introduces readers to semiotics as the science of signs, but it also elaborates on issues that were highlighted in the Topical Survey by the same authors. In addition to an introduction and a closing chapter, it presents 17 chapters based on talks given at ICME-13 (13th International Congress on Mathematical Education). (Information can be found here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, The Mathematics of Mathematics: Thinking with the Late, Spinozist Vygotsky (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2017).

This book takes up where L. S. Vygotsky has left off during the last few months of his life, when he renounced much of what he had done before. Vygotsky assumed, with Marx, that the essence of anything specifically human is the ensemble of societal relations. This book shows how the mathematics of mathematics exists in the ensemble of societal relations. [See cover here]

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Alfredo JORNET, Understanding Educational Psychology: A Late Vygotskian, Spinozist Approach (Dordrecht: Springer, 2017).

This book takes up the agenda of the late (but unknown) L. S. Vygotsky, who had turned to the philosopher Spinoza to develop a holistic approach to psychology, an approach that no longer dichotomized the body and mind, intellect and affect, or the individual and the social. In this approach, there is only one substance, which manifests itself in different ways in the thinking body, including as biology and culture. [See cover here]

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Lucy AVRAAMIDOU and Wolff-Michael ROTH (eds.), Intersections of Formal and Informal Science (New York: Routledge, 2016).

This book volume contributes to closing the gap between informal and formal science by reviewing existing theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence related to different programs and various approaches to supporting student learning and teacher learning in various types of informal contexts situated within different parts of the world. [See cover here] [Routledge]

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Concrete Human Psychology (New York: Routledge, 2016).

Lev S. Vygotsky was working towards a "concrete human psychology," a goal that he expresses in a small, unfinished text of the same name. This book articulates the foundation of and develops such a concrete human psychology according to which all higher psychological functions are relations between persons before being functions, and according to which personality is the ensemble of societal relations. [Google books]

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Lilian POZZER-ARDENGHI, JaeYoung HAN, haggyo gyoyug-eseo sigagjeog pyosang-ui ihaewa hwal-yong: bipanjeog dohaelyeog [Critical graphicacy: Utilization and understanding of visual representation in school education](Seoul, Korea: Blue Road, 2015).

This book is about understanding and competently using visual representations, without which science as we know it would not exist, and which are of tremendous frequency in science textbooks. Concrete recommendations are provided for better designing textbooks and for using visuals in the classroom. [See cover here]

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Rigorous data analysis: Beyond anything goes (Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2015).

Part of this book shows how an experienced researcher analyzes unknown transcripts and figures out, in each case, what is going on, who is speaking, etc. Like a detective, or a court of law, the analyst is concerned with providing an evidence-based reading. The book provides assistance to those interested in rigorous rather than rigid data analysis. [See cover here] [Free preview here]

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Curriculum*-in-the-Making: A Post-Constructivist Perspective (New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2014).

The book theorizes about the living curriculum as an event that is in the making, and, because unfinished, cannot be known as an object and therefore remains indeterminate. This changes the ways in which subject, ethics, and the learning paradox have to be thought: including the subject as patient.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Uncertainty and Graphing in Discovery Work: Implications for and Applications in STEM Education (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2014).

The first part provides a detailed ethnographic account of the work in an experimental biology laboratory; the second part draws implications for rethinking STEM education with practical examples of how to re/organize curriculum.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Meaning and Mental Representation: A Pragmatic Approach (Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2013).

In this book, two key concepts in constructivist theory are reworked and rethought from a pragmatic perspective. (For a preview go here.)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, What more in/for Science Education: An Ethnomethodological Perspective (Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2013).

An ethnomethodological inquiry into learning in open-inquiry science classrooms with a particular attention to the in situ, occasioned production of societal order. (For a preview go here.)

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Michiel van EIJCK, Wolff-Michael ROTH, Imagination of Science in Education (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2013).

A broad analysis of how science is constructed in mythical form in and for the purpose of science education.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Maria Inez Mafra GOULART, Katerina PLAKITSI, Science Education During Early Childhood (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2013).

We develop a cultural-historical perspective on science during the early years of child development, with examples from the ages of 1-5 and with descriptions of teacher education programs.

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Swaona MUKHOPADHYAY, Wolff-Michael ROTH (Eds.), Alternative forms of Knowing (in) Mathematics: Celebrations of Diversity of Mathematical Practices (Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2012).

The main thrusts is to contemplate the fundamental question of whose mathematics is to be valorized in a multicultural world, a world in which, as Paolo Freire said, "The intellectual activity of those without power is always characterized as non-intellectual."

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, First-Person Method: For a Rigorous Approach to the Study of Living / Lived Experience (Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2012).

I outline a method for studying knowing and learning through the rigorous analysis of first-person experience that overcomes the fallacies of "interpretation" and "hermeneutics."

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Passibility: At the Limits of the Constructivist Metaphor (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2011).

This book presents a great range of cases of knowing and learning to which the constructivist metaphor does not have an answer and, therefore, which it cannot theorize inherently. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Geometry as Objective Science in Elementary School Classrooms: Mathematics in the Flesh (New York: Routledge, 2011).

This study examines the origins of geometry in and out of the intuitively given everyday lifeworlds of children in a second-grade mathematics class. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Luis RADFORD, A Cultural Historical Perspective on Mathematics Teaching and Learning (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2011).

In this book we present a cultural-historical analysis of learning and teaching in mathematics using fourth-grade algebra as an exemplary case. (order here)

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SungWon HWANG and Wolff-Michael ROTH, Scientific & Mathematical Bodies: The Interface of Culture and Mind (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2011).

In this book we present a theory of learning in which the living body, which phenomenological philosopher refer to as the flesh, plays the central role because its senses allows it to make sense.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Language, Learning, Context: Talking the Talk (London: Routledge, 2010).

In what way do educators understand the language they use to make sense of the educational environment? How does language enable educators and how can they consciously make the most of its potential? Using the right language and setting the correct tone in the school classroom has repercussions... (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Pei-Ling HSU (eds), Talk About Careers in Science (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2010).

The contributors to this volume provide different perspectives and ways of understanding a database consisting of high school students talking about careers in science and possible future selves. (order here)

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Lilian ARDENGHI and Wolff-Michael ROTH, Staging & Performing Scientific Concepts (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2010).

The authors provide detailed analyses of how language, gestures, images, and prosody are mobilized as semiotic resources in science lectures. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH (ed), Re/Structuring Science Education: ReUniting Sociological and Psychological Perspectives (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2010).

The contributors to this volume provide indications about how the current divide between sociological and psychological approaches in science education might be overcome. (online version accessible here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Pei-Ling HSU, Analyzing Communication: Praxis of Method (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2010).

The authors provide insights into the "laboratory" of social science research concerned with the analysis of communication in all of its forms, including language, gestures, images, and prosody. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH (ed), Science Education from People for People: Taking a (Stand)point (New York: Routledge, 2009).

In the same way as the sociologist Dorothy E. Smith, who takes a women's standpoint to her research, the authors to this volume take a standpoint on science education that begins in the actualities of peoples' lives, their own or those of others that they are closely working with. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH (ed), Mathematical Representation at the Interface of Body and Culture (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2009).

Two literatures are brought together to produce a coherent account of mathematics as simultaneously embodied and cultural practice. (Contributors include: P. Cobb, R. Núñez, B. Davis, L. Radford, R. Nemirovsky, L. Edwards, G. Krummheuer.) (order here)

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Kadriye ERCIKAN and Wolff-Michael ROTH (eds), Generalizing from Educational Research (New York: Routledge, 2009).

Leading authors elaborate a perspective of generalizing and generalizations from educational research that go beyond the qualitative/quantitative dichotomy. (Contributors: Shavelson/Webb, Mislevy/Gee/Moss, Tobin, Luke, Solano-Flores, Eisenhart, Becker/Wu, Bachman, Ercikan, Roth) (Received the 2010 AERA Div-K Award for significant contribution to educational measurement and research methodology)(order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Dialogism: A Bakhtinian Perspective on Science Language and Learning (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2009).

Using concrete data from concept mapping in high school science classrooms, the author articulates a Bakhtinian approach to understanding language, learning, and the learning paradox. Particular attention is paid to the carnival nature of the vernacular and the monological nature of the natural sciences. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Ken TOBIN (vole eds) (eds), The World of Science Education: Handbook of Research in North America (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2009).

Leading authors review the literature of science education with a particular focus on scholars from and the scholarly community of North America. The book highlights the cultural and historical aspects that shaped science education in Canada and the US. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Yew Jin LEE and Leanna BOYER, The Eternal Return: Reproduction and Change in Complex Activity Systems--The Case of Salmon Enhancement (Berlin: Lehmanns Media, 2008).

We propose a radical way of theorizing the dynamic and temporal aspects of cultura-historical activity theory in Nietzschean concept of the eternal return. We use the metaphor of fluid and catastrophe theory to realize change. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Michiel van EIJCK, Giuliano REIS and Pei-Ling HSU, Authentic Science Revisited (Rotterdam: Sense, 2008).

The authors take a new look at the concept of 'authentic science' using as the context recent research conducted while high school students did an internship in a science laboratory or elementary students spent time with environmentalists outdoors. They use cultural-historical activity theory to articulate knowing and learning science in diverse settings. (order here)

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Domenico MASCIOTRA, Wolff-Michael ROTH and Denise MOREL, Énaction: apprendre et enseigner en situation (Bruxelles: De Boeck, 2008).

Qu'est-ce l'énaction ? Tout se passe en action et en situation : apprendre, connaître, penser, réfléchir, se développer, enseigner, coopérer, combattre, exercer une profession et même théoriser une pratique.

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Ian STITH and Wolff-Michael ROTH, Students in Action: Cogeneratives Dialogues from Secondary to Elementary Schools (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, JUL 2008).

For a 2-year period, we worked with an elementary school teacher and her fifth-grade class to see how cogenerative dialoguing would work with students much younger than those with which this method of involving students in the curriculum design and planning was pioneered. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, In Search of Meaning and Coherence: A Life in Research (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2007).

Using auto/biographical and cultural-historical accounts, I contextualize and present 11 articles that I have published in my career, which has been shaped in and through the work on these articles. The cultural-historical commentary highlights the fact that individual careers and autobiographies are constituted by the possibilities of the community, and, in turn, shape the community in return. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Doing Teacher-Research: A Handbook for Perplexed Practitioners (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2007).

Using six teacher-researcher studies that I have conducted while teaching full time and while being a department head of science in a secondary school, I exemplify the different dimensions of conducting research in one's own classes and of analyzing the data from different theoretical and methodical approaches. Ideal textbook for research methods. (order here)

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Domenico MASCIOTRA, Wolff-Michael ROTH and Denise MOREL, Enaction: Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2007).

This book develops an enactivist perspective on knowing, learning, and teaching. We show, using practical examples such as gardening, doing mathematical puzzles, fighting karate, and teaching science lessons, how educators can develop a Zen mind for themselves and assist their students in developing an enactivist approach to knowing. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Ken TOBIN (eds), Science, Learning, Identity: Sociocultural and Cultural Historical Perspectives (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2007).

This book cutting edge chapters and interactive metalogues by leading science education researchers about the different dimensions of identity as these become salient by participating in a variety of science-related settings. (order here)

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Ken TOBIN and Wolff-Michael ROTH, The Culture of Science Education: Its History in Person (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2007).

This book features the auto/biographies of the professional lives of 22 science educators from 11 countries situated in different places along the career ladder within an ongoing narrative of the cultural history of the field. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Learning Science: A Singular Plural Perspective (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2006).

In this book, I take a dialectical and phenomenological perspective on learning, which means, through the eyes of individual learners, who act according to the things that are given to them in their perception and thereby concretely realize cultural (plural) possibilities. I do close analyses of student learning in tenth- and twelfth-grade science classrooms and episodes from my own life. (order here)

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Kenneth TOBIN and Wolff-Michael ROTH, Teaching to Learn: A View from the Field (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2006).

We place coteaching and cogenerative dialogues within a theoretical and empirical matrix that shows what it offers above more traditional methods of professional development and teacher education. The rich theoretical underpinnings are supported by thick descriptions of sophisticated analyses and the associated methodologies. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, SungWon HWANG, Yew Jin LEE and Maria Ines Mafra GOULART, Participation, Learning, and Identity: Dialectical Perspectives (Berlin: Lehmannns Media, 2005).

We present the products of our thinking about learning across the lifespan in and of mathematics and science, which we developed in intense discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of taking a dialectical materialist (embodied) approach. Detailed case studies are provided from kindergarten to professional practice. coming April/05 (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Doing Qualitative Research: Praxis of Method (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2005).

Here, I do not teach research methodology with general descriptions--i.e., I do not put the cart before the horse--but begin with careful descriptions of practical research situations, what I do, how I do it, and why I do it, and the various questions that arise in the course of doing research. Ideal textbook for research methods. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Kenneth TOBIN (eds), Teaching Together, Learning Together (New York, Peter Lang, 2005).

Science educators from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and USA report from classrooms in which new and seasoned teachers taught together and, in this, learned from each other. In some classrooms, students and teachers regularly meet to theorize what they are doing for the purpose of improving teaching and learning.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Talking Science: Language and Learning in Science Classrooms (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

I present a radically different perspective of knowing a language than is common in science education. Knowing a language is no different to and integral part of knowing one's way around the real, lived-in world generally. It is a non-representational view of language and how students develop it through their experiences. coming 5/05

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Wolff-Michael ROTH (ed), Auto/biography and Auto/ethnography: Praxis of Research Method (Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2005).

Rather than telling readers about how to do autobiography and autoethnography, the contributors use auto/biography and auto/ethnography as method. The contributors do not teach research methodology with general descriptions but begin with careful autobiographical and autoethnographic descriptions. Ideal textbook for research methods. (order here)

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Lilian POZZER-ARDENGHI, and JaeYoung HAN, Critical Graphicacy: Understanding Visual Representation Practices in School Science (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer-Kluwer, 2005).

This book is about understanding and competently using visual representations, without which science as we know it would not exist, and which are of tremendous frequency in science textbooks. Concrete recommendations are provided for better designing textbooks and for using visuals in the classroom.

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Randy YERRICK and Wolff-Michael ROTH (eds), Establishing Scientific Classroom Discourse Communities: Multiple Voices of Research on Teaching and Learning (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005).

This book is unparalleled in discussing current reform issues from sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives. The need for a revised perspective on enduring science teaching and learning issues is established and a theoretical framework and methodology for interpreting the critique of classroom and science discourses is presented.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Angela Calabrese BARTON, Rethinking Scientific Literacy (New York: Routledge, 2004).

Rethinking Scientific Literacy presents a new perspective on science learning as a tool for improving communities. By focusing on case studies inside and outside of the classroom, we illuminate teh relevance of science in students' everyday lives, offering a new vision of scientific literacy linked to social responsibility and community development. !! AERA Div K Award 2005 !!

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Toward an Anthropology of Graphing (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003).

In this book, I present the sesults of several studies involving scientists and technicians. Surprisingly, when given tasks, scientists were not the experts that they are generally believed to be. In the workplace, however, scientists and technicians use graphs in competent ways because they are deeply embedded in and connected to the familiarity with the workplace.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Being and Becoming in the Classroom (Westport, CT: Ablex, 2002).

This book is about the continuous becoming of teachers in teaching. It is about coming to understand teaching not through the objectifying gaze of some observer but through my own lived experience of teaching, which I nevertheless reflect upon critically and with radical doubt.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Kenneth TOBIN, At the Elbow of Another: Learning to Teach by Coteaching (New York: Peter Lang, 2002).

This book is about teaching and learning to teach, written from the perspectives and experiences of two educators who teach with other teachers and, in doing so, learn to teach. Teaching with others provides us with different understandings and a new epistemology of teaching. !! CHOICE AWARD 2003 !!

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Wolff-Michael ROTH and Jacques DÉSAUTELS (eds), Science Education for/as Socio-Political Action (New York: Peter Lang, 2002).

This book is about alternative ways of looking at science education. The contributors focus on the role of science education by taking as starting point either social or political action. Concrete descriptions for curriculum design are provided.

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Derrick LAVOIE and Wolff-Michael ROTH (eds), Models of Science Teacher Preparation (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001).

Each contributor to this edited volume provides background, theoretical and research-based frameworks, guidelines, and concrete examples for the implementation and assessment of innovative models of science learning, teaching, and professional preparation.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Kenneth TOBIN, and Steve RITCHIE, Re/constructing Elementary Science (New York: Peter Lang, 2001).

The central issues in this book are framed in terms of three dichotomies that reflect contradictions in science education--individual vs collective, science vs technology (applied science), and material world vs concepts describing it. Exemplary case studies show the tremendous capabilities of elementary students to talk technology and, in the process, to learn and learn about science.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Designing Communities (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998).

A rich set of theoretical frameworks is used to yield a panorama of research findings about individual and collective learning in science classrooms, where students learn by designing artifacts of their choice and by having control over appropriate tools that mediate their engagements with the materials.

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Wolff-Michael ROTH, Authentic School Science: Knowing and Learning in Open-Inquiry Science Laboratories (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995).

This is a first-hand report of knowing and learning in middle and high school science, where individual and groups of students design investigations of their own interest. Because students own their investigations, the tools they use, and the representations they produce, this form of learning has been termed authentic science.

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selected works (2012-18)

- "Becoming and belonging"
- Experiencing (pereživanie) as developmental category
- Vygotsky, Bakhtin, Vološinov
- Birth of intentions
- Event-in-the-making*
- Post-constructivist ethics
- Sociocultural perspectives
- Situated cognition
- Origin of signs
- "symmetrical ZPD"
- ZPD symmetrically

making trouble

- "Limits of generalizing"
- "Meaning means nothing"
- Translation—the possible impossible
- Radically different method
- More reflexivity
- Auto/ethnography + ethics
- Rejecting "tofunaise"
- On editing . . .
- Ethics as social practice
- Political ethics, unethical politics
- Vagaries + politics of funding 1
- Vagaries + politics of funding 2
- Editorial power/authorial suffering


- Radical passivity
- On responsibility . . .
- Solidarity
- Education and diversity of life
- Living/Lived Math
- Representing mathematical performance
- Societal mediation of mathematical cognition
- Limits to general expertise
- Struggle over water 2
- Science and the good citizen
Scientific literacy