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Dialogic Teaching in Science

This research is concerned with the quality of teaching in science classrooms, at both primary and secondary level. The research was carried out in five primary schools and three secondary schools in England, involving six primary teachers and six secondary teachers.

Using about 120 hours of video-recorded observations of those teachers - all of whom expressed a special interest in the use of dialogue in their teaching - our aim has been to see if and how they use talk to help students develop an understanding of science. The lesson topics were selected through discussion between each teacher and the researchers from the prescribed curriculum to include varied and quite demanding subject matter.

As well as describing the nature and quality of the talk we have observed, we have also sought to identify strategies the teachers used which successfully engaged students in constructive dialogues. A practical goal has been to provide guidance and example which will help teachers use dialogue to support student learning more effectively, while a research-related goal has been to contribute to understanding dialogue as a process for the joint construction of knowledge and the development of understanding.

We made no interventions as to how lessons were taught or students' learning assessed.

Researchers: Neil Mercer, Phil Scott, Jaume Amettler, Judith Kleine Staarman, Lyn Dawes

Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-22-1269)