ERIC Number: ED206496
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Analyzing Arguments in Classroom Discourse: Can Teachers' Questions Distort Scientific Authority?
Russell, Thomas L.
An analysis of classroom discourse is reported in which the use of questions by science teachers is assessed in terms of arguments to establish knowledge claims. Questions are analyzed not for their form or frequency but for their function in the development of arguments which establish claims rationally. Seen in the context of rational argument, question sequences may be assessed as consistent with or distorting of the nature of scientific authority. The study seeks to develop and demonstrate a plausible conceptual linkage between a science teacher's use of questions to develop student understanding and the associated provision for students to understand scientific authority. Excerpts from three high school science lessons are analyzed in detail in the study, revealing three different and subtle ways in which the use of questions to develop a knowledge claim has failed to establish a rational argument. The study demonstrates that it is possible and informative to analyze science classroom discourse in terms of suggested attitudes toward authority. Use of the analytical scheme by science teachers wishing to review the use of questions in personal teaching behavior is also discussed. (Author/CS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Science Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (54th, Grossinger's in the Catskills, Ellenville, NY, April 5-8, 1981).