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PUPPETS: talking science, engaging science, learning science Stuart Naylor Nature and Learning Conference Vordingborg, May 2010
Main research objectives • How can puppets promote children’s engagement and talk in primary science lessons? • Can we change teachers’ views about the value of talk and how they manage talk in the classroom?
Research design: the main study The main study involved 16 teachers, teaching children age 7-11 from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Teachers were video-taped teaching a typical science lesson without puppets. Then they were video-taped teaching a science lesson using puppets. We analysed both lessons.
Research design: the main study We also: • videoed small groups talking • interviewed the teachers • interviewed some of the children • had follow up teacher meetings • got teachers to keep reflective diaries
What did we find out? Children were more engagedand motivated in science lessons. More children talked in lessons. The impact was greatest on children who did not talk much usually. Children used more reasoning - they gave fuller explanations, they explained and justified their ideas.
What did we find out? Teachers used more questions that required thinking and reasoning rather than recall. They used more argument and gave less information. They gave more encouragement and spent more time setting the scene.
An example of the impact of puppets on teachers’ questions The graph shows styles of questions used by the teacher in lessons without and with puppets
The origin of the puppets research Concept Cartoons present scenarios with alternative viewpoints that include some common misconceptions. Puppets provide a way of ‘bringing the Concept Cartoons to life’ so that the misconceptions seem even more authentic.
Some interesting points and issues Puppets present problems, not instructions. This inevitably influences the lesson. The talk related to scientific questions, not socio-scientific. Individual worksheets have a negative impact on children’s talk. A small scale intervention had a big impact on teachers’ professional practice.
Websites You will find our websites at www.millgatehouse.co.uk www.puppetsproject.com