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DEVELOPING ELEMENTARY TEACHERS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE DISCOURSE STRUCTURE OF INQUIRY-BASED SCIENCE CLASSROOMS

  • Alandeom W. OliveiraEmail author
Article

Abstract

This study examines the effectiveness of using scholarly descriptions of inquiry-based teaching as a professional development strategy aimed at improving elementary teachers’ social understandings (i.e., how teachers perceive their own and their students’ social roles and relationships in the context of inquiry-based science instruction). The reported findings reveal that, while participating in expert-guided discussions, teachers articulated deeper, theory-based social understandings. Teachers recognized the dialogic nature of initiation–response–feedback, considered the third move in triadic dialogue as multifunctional, identified potential complications of avoiding evaluation, recognized nonverbal means of evaluation, and defined teacher feedback and guidance discursively. Teachers also identified lack of neutrality as having a negative impact on inquiry, considered the implications of verbatim repetitions of students’ responses, and articulated strategies to deal with students’ misconceptions and remain neutral. The significance of this study is that it shows how expert-guided introduction of scholarly descriptions of classroom discourse can serve as effective means to bring educational theory and practice together in the context of professional development and to increase teachers’ awareness of the discourse structure of inquiry-based science instruction.

Key words

discourse inquiry neutrality reactive comments science social understanding 

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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Theory and Practice DepartmentUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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