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This chapter highlights the difference between communicating information and sharing understanding. Information is treated as something that is objectively observable, such as a string of symbols, that can in principle be transferred in high fidelity. However, such information does not inherently entail meaning. Even if the information is intended to represent meaning, that meaning is not itself captured in the information, and is only meaningful to someone else who brings suitable interpretive resources to making sense of the information. Even then, the information may not be understood as intended: just as scientific data only comprises evidence for some knowledge claim when understood within a particular analytical framework, such that another scientist adopting a different conceptual framework may not agree that the data should be considered as evidence for the particular claim. Effective communication of ideas between chemists relies upon different members of the community already holding authoritative concepts that are well aligned with those of their peers, due to their education and induction into the community. The teacher's role, however, is to communicate chemical ideas to those who do not already share the comprehensive and well-aligned set of concepts that allows experts to infer the intended meaning of the formal statements found in chemical discourse. Thus, communicating ideas in teaching chemistry is inherently more problematic than communicating ideas within a scientific community.

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