Exploring the Form and the Function: a Review of Science Discourse Frameworks in the Service of Research and Practice

Abstract

The importance of how classroom discourse can be used to support science learning has gained national attention with respect to both science teaching and research across K12 and higher education. In this review article, we examine a commonly referenced set of nine frameworks for use in science classrooms. Specifically, we examine the ways in which various frameworks emphasize the structure (i.e., form) or practical use (i.e., function) of language across classroom settings, and the impact of such an emphasis on the facilitation and analysis of science classroom discourse. The findings from this review should help researchers investigate and educators facilitate classroom discourse in ways that ensure that all students can participate in and demonstrate their scientific understanding.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Clark, R.P. (2011). The glamour of grammar: A guide to the magic and mystery of practical English. New York: Little, Brown Spark. (Quote is found on p. 45)

  2. 2.

    Our labeling of Polman and Pea’s work as functionalist is based on the fact that even though it does lay out the structure of an exchange, their focus is much more on the use of transformative communication in supporting scientific thinking.

  3. 3.

    The ideas overviewed in this paragraph are part of Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirsig's_Metaphysics_of_Quality for additional details of this theory of reality.

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Criswell, B.A., Rushton, G.T. & Shah, L. Exploring the Form and the Function: a Review of Science Discourse Frameworks in the Service of Research and Practice. Res Sci Educ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-020-09959-1

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Keywords

  • Science classroom discourse
  • Discourse frameworks
  • Science education