Studying Science Class Discussion: Relations between Discourse Moves and Grounds

By Michael Skoumios and Vassilia Hatzinikita.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The present study, which is focused on pupils’ dialogic argumentation put forward during the didactic elaboration of their conceptual obstacles, deals with the relation between two basic elements of the quality of the dialogic argumentation developed by the pupils in class and particularly with the discourse moves of pupils’ comments made during their group discussions and the grounds included in these comments. To fulfill this aim, a teaching sequence on the didactic elaboration of the obstacles regarding temperature and heat was designed and implemented in primary school pupils (aged 11-12). Pupils’ discussions were tape-recorded during the teaching sequence. Then, pupils’ oral discourse was analysed and their individual comments were classified into categories, as regards their discourse moves, and levels, as regards the grounds included. At the next stage, the relation between the categories of the discourse moves of pupils’ comments and the levels of the grounds included in their comments was investigated. Data analysis allowed for mapping the way the categories of the discourse moves are distributed among grounds levels. Moreover, the analysis revealed that the use of grounds levels by the pupils, when the latter want to support their claims, depends on the category of the discourse moves that include their comments. More specifically, it emerged that when the pupils contradict their peers’ views, in contrast to when they support their peers’ views, clearly tend to express comments including grounds of higher quality. The results of the present study affect the research on designing and developing teaching material suitable for the promotion of pupils’ dialogic argumentation.

Keywords: Dialogic Argumentation, Oral Discourse, Grounds, Discourse Moves, Obstacles, Didactic Elaboration of an Obstacle, Science Education, Primary School Science

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp.199-214. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.220MB).

Dr. Michael Skoumios

Researcher, School of Humanities, Hellenic Open University, Rhodes, Greece

Dr. Michael Skoumios obtained a first degree in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1987, a second degree in Education from the University of Aegean in 1992 and his PhD in Science Education from the Hellenic Open University in 2005. His research interests include science concept learning and teaching science in primary and secondary schools. He is currently teaching Science Education in the Department of Primary Education of the University of the Aegean (Greece).

Prof. Vassilia Hatzinikita

Academic Coordinator of the Master in Education, School of Humanities, Hellenic Open University, Rhodes, Greece

Associate Professor Vassilia Hatzinikita is currently an academic coordinator of the Master in Education in the Hellenic Open University and a coordinator of Educational Research in Action module. Her research interests concern science teaching and learning as well as the analysis and development of educational materials. She has published a considerable number of research papers in journals, books and conference proceedings and has developed educational material for the Science Education module of the Hellenic Open University.


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