Watters, J. J & Diezmann, CM. (2016). Engaging elementary students in learning science: an analysis of classroom dialogue. Instructional Science,44(1), 25-44. Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-015-9364-7
Research over a long period of time has continued to demonstrate problems in the teaching of science in school. In addition, declining levels of participation and interest in science and related fields have been reported from many particularly western countries. Among the strategies suggested is the recruitment of professional scientists and technologists either at the graduate level or advanced career level to change career and teach. In this study, we analysed how one beginning middle primary teacher engaged with students to support their science learning by establishing rich classroom discussions. We followed his evolving teaching expertise over three years focussing on his communicative practices informed by socio-cultural theory. His practices exemplified a non-interactive dialogical communicative approach where ideas were readily discussed but were concentrated on the class acquiring acceptable scientific understandings. His focus on the language of science was a significant aspect of his practice and one that emerged from his professional background. The study affirms the theoretical frameworks proposed by Mortimer and Scott (Meaning making in secondary science classrooms, 2003) highlighting how dialogue contributes to heightened student interest in science.
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