Mohan, L. 2008. Orchestrating productive discussion: A study of dialogic discourse and participation in science classrooms. Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA.

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Although we expect students to engage in the discourses of science, there is relatively little research that documents how teachers accomplish this in their classrooms. The goal of this study was to develop a theory of how dialogic discourse helped this goal be realized in two classrooms. Classroom discussions of two exemplary science teachers (approximately ten hours for each teacher), along with video recall sessions and teacher interviews were analyzed using open-coding method to identify dialogic discourse indicators, such as authentic teacher questions, open invitations, student questions and new ideas, expressing value for student contributions, positioning through agreement of disagreement, assigning authorship, and evaluating accounts (either collectively or individually). The space afforded in these discussions allowed for student participation with science practices, which were guided by classroom socioscientific norms, such as norms for collective validation of observations and explanations. Discussions, especially those characterized by dialogism, enabled student participation with science practices and discourse. Implications of what these discussions afford students in terms of participation within a social community, and how illustrations of rich discussions and exemplary teaching can be used in pre-service and in-service professional development are discussed. Limitations and directions for future research are also considered.

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