The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) identify eight practices as essential to science and engineering, and these practices include asking students to construct explanations, to engage in argumentation, and to communicate scientific information. However, few teacher-training programs instruct teachers how to facilitate such discourse in the classroom. Modeling Instruction is one movement in physics education that organizes high school physics content around a small number of student-derived scientific models, and it relies on student discourse for the design, development, and deployment of these models. This research is a self-study of one high school physics teacher's experience facilitating large group discourse in the high school modeling physics classroom. Whiteboard meetings and graded discussions were examined by applying the analytical framework created by Mortimer and Scott (2003) to characterize the classroom talk and the discourse facilitation moves that I employed. In addition, elements of discourse analysis were used to examine some of the tensions that I experienced in the facilitation of this discourse. The findings suggest that deliberate identification of the teaching purposes for the discussion can help determine the scaffolding needed for students to enter the Discourse (Gee, 2011) of being a participant in these large group conversations. In addition, connecting the dialogic dimension of exploring student ideas with the authoritative dimension of introducing the scientific view and supporting the internalization of that view is necessary to contribute to meaning making in the science classroom.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2014. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Gillian Hearther Roehrig. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 201 pages.
Hovan, Scot Alan.
Contributing to meaning making: facilitating discourse in the high school physics classroom.
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