Advisor

Cochran, Kathryn F.

Committee Member

McDevitt, Teresa

Committee Member

Pugh, Kevin

Committee Member

Heikkinen, Henry

Department

Educational Psychology

Institution

University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources

Text

Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)

Publisher

University of Northern Colorado

Date Created

8-1-2011

Genre

Thesis

Extent

204 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital

Abstract

Discourse interactions between a teacher and students in an inquiry-based fourth-grade science classroom were analyzed to investigate how power dynamics and questioning strategies within elementary science lessons help support students in building their science understanding. Five inquiry-based classroom sessions were observed; verbal interactions were audio- and video-recorded. Research data consisted of observation transcripts, teacher interviews, student work, and instructional materials. Analyses were conducted on the frequencies of utterances, participation roles, power categories, and questioning categories. Results revealed that when students used more frequent power, (a) no significant differences were noted between frequencies of teacher and student talk, (b) the teacher posed more questions than did the students, and (c) students explained what they knew and asked questions to clarify their understanding. When the teacher used more frequent power, she asked questions to provide students opportunities to negotiate investigative processes and explain what they knew and how they knew it. Evidence of student understanding of the science concepts was found in how students used subject matter to discuss what they knew and how they knew it. Pre-service and in-service teachers should be encouraged to consider how their use of power and questioning strategies can engage students to reflect on how they build understanding of science concepts. Teachers can use Professional Learning Communities to reflect on how their practice engages students. Future research should be employed to observe classrooms across an entire school year to determine how power and questioning dynamics flow among students and teachers and change over time. Research can also be used to understand the influence of gender and culture on power and questioning dynamics in classroom settings.

Degree type

PhD

Degree Name

Doctoral

Language

English

Local Identifiers

Reinsvold_unco_0161D_10092

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.

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