Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Brian M. Hand
This study was conducted to better understand how teachers use an argument-based inquiry technique known as the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) approach to address issues on teaching, learning, negotiation, argumentation, and elaboration in an elementary science classroom. Within the SWH framework, this study traced the progress of promoting argumentation and negotiation (which led to student-generated questions) during a discussion in an elementary science classroom. Speech patterns during various classroom scenarios were analyzed to understand how teacher-student interactions influence learning.
This study uses a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative aspect of the study is an analysis of teacher-student interactions in the classroom using video recordings. The quantitative aspect uses descriptive statistics, tables, and plots to analyze the data. The subjects in this study were fifth grade students and teachers from an elementary school in the Midwest, during the academic years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. The three teachers selected for this study teach at the same Midwestern elementary school. These teachers were purposely selected because they were using the SWH approach during the two years of the study.
The results of this study suggest that all three teachers moved from using teacher-generated questions to student-generated questions as they became more familiar with the SWH approach. In addition, all three promoted the use of the components of arguments in their dialogs and discussions and encouraged students to elaborate, challenge, and rebut each other's ideas in a non-threatening environment. This research suggests that even young students, when actively participating in class discussions, are capable of connecting their claims and evidence and generating questions of a higher-order cognitive level. These findings demand the implementation of more professional development programs and the improvement in teacher education to help teachers confidently implement argumentative practices and develop pedagogical strategies to help students use them.
Copyright 2011 Juan F. Diaz