Exploring teacher talk and its role in learner understanding of science content

Khoza, Hlologelo Climant
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In order for educational researchers to make informed decisions about science education, careful attention should be given to what happens in science classrooms. What teachers do shapes the interaction and influences learner cognitive development. Classroom talk is an important part of what goes on in science classrooms. Research has shown that teacher facilitation of talk is important for learner understanding of science content. The purpose of this study was to explore how teachers facilitate talk in their science classrooms for learner understanding of content. However, I looked at their views on classroom talk first. Teachers have the ability to either open up or close learner interaction through talk. The interaction triggers certain kinds of engagement which may or may not promote understanding. The participants in this study were three male science teachers from an independent school with their Grade 11 learners. Teachers were chosen based on their availability. I interviewed teachers for their views on classroom talk. The interviews were audio recorded. Teachers were also observed teaching and the observations were video-recorded and transcribed. Classroom observations were analyzed using Mortimer and Scott’s analytical framework on teacher communicative approaches. Findings suggest that although teachers value interaction and engage learners in dialogue, teachers use interactive authoritative approach more than interactive dialogic approach in their classrooms. The recommendation is that teacher education needs to find ways to make teachers aware of engaging learners in dialogic discourse in a science classroom
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Science for the partial fulfillment of the degree Masters of Science (MSc), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. June 2016
Khoza, Hlologelo Climant (2015) Exploring teacher talk and its role in learner understanding of science content, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/handle/10539/21024>