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ERIC Number: ED551163
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 254
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-4645-0
Social Aspects of Classroom Learning: Results of a Discourse Analysis in an Inquiry-Oriented Physical Chemistry Class
Becker, Nicole M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University
Engaging students in classroom discourse offers opportunities for students to participate in the construction of joint understandings, to negotiate relationships between different types of evidence, and to practice making evidence-based claims about science content. However, close attention to social aspects of learning is critical to creating inquiry-oriented classroom environments in which students learn with understanding. This study examined the social influences that contribute to classroom learning in an inquiry-oriented undergraduate physical chemistry class using the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) approach. A qualitative approach to analyzing classroom discourse derived from Toulmin's (1968) model of argumentation was used to document patterns in classroom reasoning that reflect normative aspects of social interaction. Adapting the constructs of social and sociomathematical norms from the work of Yackel and Cobb (1996), I describe social aspects of the classroom environment by discussing normative aspects of social interaction (social norms) and discipline-specific criteria related to reasoning and justification in chemistry contexts, referred to here as sociochemical norms. This work discusses four social norms and two sociochemical norms that were documented over a five-week period of observation in Dr. Black's POGIL physical chemistry class. In small group activities, the socially established expectations that students explain reasoning, negotiate understandings of terminology and symbolic representations, and arrive at a consensus on critical thinking questions shaped small group interactions and reasoning. In whole class discussion, there was an expectation that students share reasoning with the class, and that the instructor provide feedback on student reasoning in ways that extended student contributions and elaborated relationships between macroscopic, particulate, and symbolic-level ideas. The ways in which the class constructed evidence-based claims about chemistry content reflected the influence of sociochemical norms that were enacted through classroom discourse. Two sociochemical norms were documented in both whole class and small group activities: first, the class used particulate-level evidence to make claims about chemical and physical properties; second, particular ways of using mathematical reasoning to justify claims about thermodynamics content became normative for the class. These similarities and differences between social and sociochemical norms in small group and whole class discussion highlight ways in which instructor facilitation can support productive interactions in classroom activities. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A