Talking a way to understanding in the physics classroom
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Talking a way to understanding in the physics classroom. Phil Scott Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds, UK. Fysikermøtet 2005 11 - 14 August 2005   Rica Brakanes Hotel, Ulvik i Hardanger. . A view of learning: Vygotsky. Personal plane. Social

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Talking a way to understanding in the physics classroom l.jpg

Talking a way to understanding in the physics classroom

Phil Scott

Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Leeds, UK.

Fysikermøtet 200511 - 14 August 2005   Rica Brakanes Hotel, Ulvik i Hardanger.


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A view of learning: Vygotsky

Personal

plane

Social

plane

Internalisation: with restructuring

Language and other means of communication

Language as a tool for thinking


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Implications: Teaching and learning

  • teacher is responsible for introducing physics ideas through the ongoing ‘performance’ on the social plane.

  • pupils must make sense of the new physics ideas in terms of their existing ‘everyday’ ways of thinking.

  • the ‘physics talk’ provides the tools for ‘physics thinking’


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Implications: Teaching and learning

  • there may be differences between everyday and school physics ways of talking and thinking

  • teacher needs to explore any differences

  • pupils need to practice the talk of physics for themselves


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A research project

To develop a tool for analysing teacher-student interactions in physics classrooms focussing on...classroom talk.

To explore implications of this analysis for planning and implementing physics teaching



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Non-interactive

Interactive

Focus on science view

(Authoritative)

Taking account of pupils’ understanding

(Dialogic)

Communicative approach

Presentation

Q&A

Presentation

‘lecture’

Probing

Elaborating

Supporting

Review


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Let’s just ignore the sparks (1)

Teacher: Do you remember the electric bell?

Students: Yes! [in chorus]

Teacher:OK! Did any of you notice, did any of you actually hold onto the bell after it had...been working? What did you notice?

Suzanne: Vibration

Teacher: Well, the arm vibrated, yes. Sound. What else did you notice?

Tom: It was loud.

Teacher:That's not quite what I'm getting at.


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Let’s just ignore the sparks (2)

Teacher: Remember the bell. There's the bell[holding up a bell in front of the class]. You did the experiment. If you held onto this bit here where the wires were [indicating], did you notice anything there?

Jason: There were sparks there.

Teacher: Heat, did you notice some heat?

Jason: There were sparks from there.

Teacher: There were?

Jason: Sparks.

Teacher: There were some sparks, yes. Let's just ignore the sparks a minute...some heat. There was a little bit of heat there with that one.


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Let’s just ignore the sparks

  • Teaching purpose

    - developing the scientific story

  • Communicative approach

    - Interactive/authoritative

  • Pattern of discourse

    - I-R-E

    - (Initiation/Response/Evaluation)


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Other people are desperate to say (1)

Teacher: Solids are hard?

Students: No, no. Soft! [together]

Teacher: Well, if you say ‘no’, put your hand up and tell me, give me an example, which would prove an exception to that...

Suzanne: Powder’s a solid, but you can crush it.

Teacher: Powder’s?

Suzanne: …a solid but you can still crush it.

Teacher: Powders aren’t particularly hard, yes, if you’re talking about hard to the touch. Paul? [who has his hand up]

Paul: It’s…cos…it’s [the powder] got a gas in between, so it’s hard.


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Other people are desperate to say (2)

Teacher: So you think that all solids are hard?

Paul: Yeah.

Teacher: Other people are desperate to say that all solids aren’t hard. Martin?

Martin: Er…fabric’s soft.

Students: Yeah…yeah…[lots of muttering]

Teacher: Wait. Just a minute. If you’re saying things, can you say it to the front, so that we can all share these ideas.


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Other people are desperate to say

  • Teaching purpose

    - Exploring students’ views

  • Communicative approach

    - Interactive/dialogic

  • Pattern of discourse

    - I-R-P-R-P-

    - Initiation-Response-Prompt- Response-Prompt-


Patterns of discourse l.jpg

Non-interactive

Interactive

Focus on science view

(Authoritative)

Taking account of pupils’ understanding

(Dialogic)

Patterns of discourse

I-R-E

Presentation

‘lecture’

I-R-P-R-P-R-P-

Review


Linking teaching to purpose l.jpg

Purpose: to explore pupils’ everyday views

Communicative App: Interactive/dialogic

Pattern discourse: open chains of interaction

Purpose: to introduce a science concept

Communicative App:Interact/authoritative

Pattern discourse: triads/I-R-E

Linking teaching to purpose


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Teaching: changing rhythms to the communicative approach

Exploring students’ views

[Interactive/dialogic]

Maintaining scientific story

[Non-interactive/ authoritative]

Working on students’ views

[Interactive/authoritative]


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Physics: frightful but fun…

Angell, Guttersrud, Henriksen, Isnes (2004)

Science Education

What happens in physics classrooms?

Some of the largest gaps (between teacher and students’ views) concern teaching methods: pupils would prefer more ‘emphasis on qualitative presentation, discussion (in class or smaller groups) of qualitative aspects of new concepts, and demonstrations to illustrate concepts’.

‘Physics lessons are dominated by chalk and talk instruction.’


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The demands of dialogic talk

The teacher:

  • is aware of, and recognises, the pupil’s thinking

  • understands the physics point of view

  • is able to operate in the ‘gap’ between everyday and physics views, recognising the differences: recognising the ‘conceptual terrain’.

  • listens, prompts, reviews, encourages…


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Carbon dioxide

?

Planning teaching



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The importance of talk: key points

  • Talking and thinking are intimately connected

  • The language of talk provides tools for thinking

  • Learning physics involves learning to talk (and to think) physics

  • Talking in a dialogic manner…thinking in a dialogic manner (basic Vygotskian psychology)

  • Quality of talking…quality of thinking


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If you are interested…

‘Meaning making in Secondary Science Classrooms’

Eduardo Mortimer and Phil Scott

Open University Press

2003