Zoo Talk pp 115-136 | Cite as

School and Family Groups’ Conversations

  • Patricia G. Patrick
  • Sue Dale Tunnicliffe


Chapter 8 provides a look at the conversations that take place between parents/children, adults/children, chaperones/children, teachers/children, and children/children. The content of conversations may reveal the rationale for the zoo visit, what the visitors talk about, and more. Conversations are used for a variety of functions and particular functions have characteristic forms. School and family conversations consist of instruction, hijacking the attention of a member by another group member, and talk of a subject irrespective of the topic being addressed. Occasionally, philosophical debates between children will occur without the intervention of an adult. Adults facilitate observational opportunities for children in the group but leave the children to construct their own dialogue. Parents may relate the child’s observations to prior knowledge or a context the parent understands. The dialogue at animal exhibits may contain both elements of leisure and education, which forms a distinct animal exhibit style of dialogue. Recognizing the zoological language or everyday language that comprises the conversations of primary school-aged children with families or school groups is of significance. Zoo educators and classroom educators need a formal understanding of the extent to which teaching and learning dialogues are used in animal exhibits. The educators need to know if the animal engenders the same comments without the presence of an adult. Moreover, educators must be aware of how words are understood, acquired, and used in conversation and whether the experience of viewing the exhibits aids the visitor in acquiring biological knowledge.


Family Group Field Trip Verbal Interaction School Group School Visit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia G. Patrick
    • 1
  • Sue Dale Tunnicliffe
    • 2
  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonEngland UK

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