Teacher-Student Interaction Patterns Change During an Early Science Teaching Intervention

Astrid Menninga, Paul van Geert, Sabine van Vondel, Henderien Steenbeek, Marijn van Dijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study aimed to explore the interaction between teachers and young students in terms of their question and answer patterns during science lessons and to investigate whether this changes over the course of an intervention called ‘Language as a Tool for learning science’ (LaT). It also compared experienced teachers with novices. A total of 16 teachers—of which 8 experienced and 8 novice teachers—and their students participated in this study. The teachers’ utterances were coded with regard to the use of questioning strategies, and the students’ reasoning skills were categorized by the use of three types of scientific reasoning skills (observations, predictions, explanations). Consistent with the complex dynamic systems orientation, we analyzed the interactions among these dimensions by means of state space grids (SSG). The results showed that before the intervention, the teacher-student interaction often took the form of a relatively rigid pattern in which teachers did not ask questions and students did not respond with reasoning expressions. In the course of the LaT intervention, a richer repertoire and a greater amount of interactions emerged in which knowledge was “co-constructed” by means of open-ended questions of the teacher and reasoning by the students. The results also suggest that the patterns of experienced and novice teachers were quite similar to each other.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in science education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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