Using corpus-assisted discourse analysis, this study primarily analyzed the design of a unit titled “Continuation of Life” in a Japanese science textbook for third-year junior high schoolers with reference to a Taiwanese unit. The study also examined textbook design implications in the context of educational reform. The unit in the Japanese textbook integrates the objective and process curriculum models. To encourage learners to inquire and apply their understanding to manage new problems, the unit introduces inquiry questions through natural phenomena, presents large photographs for observation and discussion, and uses more character illustrations, less terminology, and more verbs that drive learning performance than Taiwanese counterparts do. The findings have the following implications. Textbooks can create learning contexts in which students use science concepts and inquiry to solve problems and adapt to the society. Students are regarded as problem solvers and knowledge constructors in a community of inquiry; with teachers’ facilitation, students use scientific inquiry methods to acquire concepts, knowledge, and skills, and then conduct small projects for independent inquiry. Textbooks can serve as comprehensive, stable, and pervasive scaffolds to support the enactment of curriculum reform; they may help teachers and learners co-create new learning experiences in developing inquiry communities in classrooms.
- Corpus-assisted discourse analysis
- Curriculum reform enactment
- Scientific inquiry
- Textbook design
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