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Talking Science: Getting students involved in the conversation. Diane Silva Pimentel Lynch School of Education Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. Short List of Science teacher Objectives. Teaching Content Standards Maintaining Discipline Improving Reading Comprehension

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talking science getting students involved in the conversation

Talking Science:Getting students involved in the conversation

Diane Silva Pimentel

Lynch School of Education

Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

short list of science teacher objectives
Short List of Science teacher Objectives
  • Teaching Content Standards
  • Maintaining Discipline
  • Improving Reading Comprehension
  • Improving Writing skills
  • Performing Classroom Routines
  • Improving classroom discussion
talking science why it s important
Talking ScienceWhy it’s important
  • M. A. K. Halliday (2006) –
    • Science language – “meaning-making resource”
    • One way of understanding the world
  • Lemke (1990) – student learn to talk science by
    • “Speaking it with those who have already mastered it”
    • “Employing it for the many purposes for which it is used”
      • For many students, the classroom is the only opportunity they will have to practice this type of talk.
challenges whole class discussions
Challenges – Whole-class discussions
  • Students come into high school lacking discussion skills.
  • Students are not comfortable discussing their ideas in a class setting.
  • It’s hard to keep the entire class focused on the discussion.
  • As the teacher, I find it difficult to guide the discussion “real-time”.
advantages whole class discussions
Advantages- Whole-Class Discussions
  • Giving students the chance to practice science talk with the guidance of a teacher.
  • Allows teacher to highlight key ideas all students should be taking from the lesson or investigation
  • Immediate feedback on the meaning students are taking from the lesson.
  • Building a sense of community
question
Question

What are the characteristics of a good class discussion?

sample discussion
Sample discussion

Teacher: Okay. So if we talk about having a question, something that you as a scientist are going to research, think about what is a good example of something in your question that you want to have to make it a strong question.

Mario: It should be interesting.

Teacher: Yeah. People should care. It should be interesting. You could have the most perfect questions that highlights all these different things that you never thought about but if no one cares, nobody’s going to read it. What’s something else in a research question you look for?

Terri: Making sense.

Teacher: Making sense. It should be not only interesting but it should be logical. You shouldn’t ask a question that has no basis

sample discussion1
Sample Discussion

Teacher: Let me ask this. Can someone tell me why this is a good question? How does the presence of trees affect daytime temperatures in the city?

Latisha: Specific

Teacher: It’s very specific. I can give you a thermometer and point to some trees and you can go through the city and measure this. You could find out the answer if you sit their long enough.

what is the goal
What is the Goal?
  • To hear the “right” answer.
  • To understand student thinking
  • To have students make meanings for the concepts being learned
setting the stage
Setting The Stage
  • Beginning of the year
    • Stressing the importance of just contributing to the conversation.
    • Asking students to elaborate on their answers.
    • Reserving immediate evaluation of student answers
      • Get some other student contributions before giving feedback
    • Allowing students to contribute their ideas.
      • Difficult with time constraints due to content “coverage”
strategies
strategies
  • Pre-discussion
    • Writing prompt
    • Pair-share
  • During discussion
    • Increasing awareness of teacher questions
      • Closed questions (have a limited number of correct responses)
        • List, define, state, explain, etc.
          • Example: What are the characteristics of a good research question?
      • Open Questions (many possible answers are acceptable)
        • Evaluate, interpret, etc.
          • Example: Keeping in mind the characteristics that we listed, would you consider this a good research question? Why or why not?
          • Example: Okay. What can we do to make this question more specific?
strategies1
Strategies
  • Choosing students who may or may not have their hands raised.
  • Making time for discussion
    • Usually part of the end of a lesson – may be rushed
      • Examples
        • Reading a text- focusing on vocabulary and comprehension
        • Finishing up a laboratory or field investigation – summarizing key points instead of discussing student understandings of the data.
video case analysis
Video Case Analysis
  • Videotaping the class.
    • Are you doing what you think you’re doing?
    • Who’s participating?
    • What kind of questions are you asking?
    • What kinds of responses are the students giving you?
    • What kind of feedback (verbal and non-verbal) are you giving to the class?
    • What were the positive aspects of the discussion?
    • What’s one thing you would try differently next time?