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ERIC Number: ED558227
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3032-5928-9
Examining Authentic Talk and Student Authorship of Scientific Ideas: Public Pedagogy and Affinity Space
Slaton, Adriane McNamara
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
One of the great challenges to teachers both historically and contemporarily is to facilitate a classroom as a "group" of students, while concurrently attending to each "individual" student. As the profession becomes increasingly aware and sensitive to student (dis)abilities, academic giftedness, pressures of athletics and extra-curricular events, and acknowledges the racial, cultural, sexual, economic, gendered identities of students--the complexity of each individual student becomes ever more apparent. It is a seemingly insurmountable challenge. This dissertation examines how stem cell unit guided group learning while also attending to the individual learning needs of each student. What makes classroom study unusual in research is that it is completely "usual". This study was not part of a university partnership nor did it take place in an affluent school district. Instead, this unit took place in a large, Midwestern urban high school that was/is often written off as a failing--underscoring that powerful science teaching and learning is occurring in schools society simultaneously portrays as victim and villain in the media. Using a sociocultural lens, this ethnographic study draws upon two frameworks, Wenger's "communities of practice" (1998) and Hayes and Gee's (2011) "public pedagogy", to examine how participation in a debate individualizes and personalizes student knowledge and participation in science. The primary use of a "community of practice" framework allowed for analysis of the norms, rules, practices, and routines of Classroom 507--to establish the nature of the community of learners in the study. A secondary framework, "public pedagogy", allowed for deeper understanding of the practices drawn upon in the classroom through consideration of the design, resources, and an emergent "affinity space". This hybridized analysis led to further understanding of how students and teacher stand to learn, participate, engage and use a classroom lesson, the debate, to serve their own, unique purposes. During my observations of biology Classroom 507, the class engaged a three-week unit on the ethics of stem cells which ended in a class-wide debate. I had the opportunity to observe, film, and interview students and their teacher. Through observation, interviews, and film, I began to understand the classroom community (its norms, practices, and routines) but also began to recognize how this unit functioned to teach content but push on student thought creation and development as individuals. In this dissertation, I construct something I call an "affinity story" for four focal students (Mismin, Kevin, Molly, and Michael) and their teacher (Theresa). These affinity stories capture how each of the individuals co-opted the debate space in various ways allowing for engagement and participation in ways that were true to themselves and their social and academic needs. Implications from this dissertation include: 1) re-considering the importance of how both students and teacher enrich science understandings when public, authentic talk is encouraged; 2) how teachers can design units and draw from diverse resources to enrich the learning experience of the individual; 3) how students and teacher appropriate learning spaces for their own individual social and academic needs; 4) to consider what it means to allow students to follow their affinities within the science classroom; and 5) to inspire teachers as they engage in the difficult task we call teaching. [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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A