ERIC Number: ED406210
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Gender and Cultural Aspects of Elementary Science Conversations.
Kurth, Lori A.; Smith, Edward L.
The purpose of this study was to characterize and examine the social context of elementary students' interactions with science through their discourse. The influences of gender and culture on students' science conversations were studied in a semi-structured, student-run, whole class conversational format. Findings indicate that the discussion format allowed students to bring in personal experiences related to their cultural background and to use these examples as opportunities for listeners to experience the speaker's world from his or her own perspective. Additionally, a pattern of gender clustering was observed in students' seating, turn-taking, and content contributions. Students tended to choose next speakers of the same gender. The pattern resulted in a collaborative development of the floor by gender. Same-gender students aligned with and built upon previous speakers' comments. It was concluded that more open-structured formats such as these science conversations showed promise of expanding the discourse to include more students by recognizing and valuing culture and gender along with other social dimensions. Contains 28 references. (JRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).