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ERIC Number: ED551833
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 226
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-5257-1
Secondary Science Teachers' and Students' Beliefs about Engaging in Whole-Class Discussions
Silva Pimentel, Diane
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston College
Reform movements in science education have repeatedly called for more dialogic and student-centered discussions during science lessons. The approach secondary science teachers take towards talk during whole-class discussions continues to be predominantly teacher-centered even when curriculum materials are designed to support a shift in discourse. This dissertation explores what factors may be influencing the approach that both teachers and students take towards whole-class discussions in order to understand why the type of talk that occurs in high school science lessons is not changing. In order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of this issue, this dissertation made use of mixed methodology. To explore secondary science teachers' beliefs in general, responses to a statewide survey of science teachers (N = 185) were analyzed statistically to investigate factors that were related to their efficacy beliefs about whole-class discussions, as well as their beliefs about the effectiveness of dialogic and authoritative approaches to bring about learning in students. Acknowledging that discursive interactions are context dependent, a case study of a high school chemistry teacher and her students (N = 45) was also included which examined both the teacher's and her students' beliefs as well as how those beliefs manifested themselves during instruction. Findings suggest that although teachers believe that a dialogic approach to whole-class discussions is more important for student learning than an authoritative approach, lower self-efficacy for engaging in dialogic talk is related to limited opportunities teachers have to learn and recognize alternative strategies that can be used to shift talk during whole-class discussions. Furthermore, school and student characteristics may play a role in teachers' beliefs about the effectiveness of dialogic talk as an approach to learning science. The teachers' role is only one part of the interaction, however. This dissertation also shows that secondary students have beliefs and expectations about whole-class discussions that also influence the type of discourse that can occur. Changing the type of talk that occurs in high school science classes will require not only professional development about talk strategies for teachers, but also a shift in how students frame their role in discussions and the purpose of talk in learning science. [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: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A