Academic journal article International Education Studies

Discourse Patterns at Laboratory Practices and the Co-Construction of Knowledge by Applying SDIS-GSEQ

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Discourse Patterns at Laboratory Practices and the Co-Construction of Knowledge by Applying SDIS-GSEQ

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Common speech properties have been highlighted in several discourse works. It is clear that in the classroom, speech has special properties that distinguish it from the one raised in other contexts. This means that the main element about it is that it encompasses interpretation rules that must be understood, negotiated and implemented by the participants beyond discourse structuring and the mere expression of such rules, which happens to be more implicit than explicit. In this regard, speech rules in the classroom are part of a broader set of unwritten interpretations, which are the basis for successful participation in the educational discourse.

Rigid discourse patterns with a structure of rules are common in traditional classrooms, where teachers and students speak according to very fixed views of their roles. The conversation in this case is very unilateral: the teacher asks all the questions and students have to answer them. Moreover, questions teachers ask are mainly closed questions, that is, questions that require students to demonstrate knowledge already acquired by the teacher. These questions usually require only short answers and do not generate structured language output by students.

This prevailing discourse pattern has been well documented (see Cazden, 2001; Stierer & Maybin, 1994); however, literature shows that it is not the most appropriate pattern for learning opportunities as it leads to a turn-taking system in which the teacher assigns most intervention opportunities, which results in lower participation for students to select the topic of conversation by themselves (Mercer, 1995).

Cubero et al. (2008) presents a set of studies and research lines on the construction of knowledge and the role of educational discourse in these processes. Some of these lines are related to constructivist and sociocultural theories. He explains that socio-cultural settings define the shared co-construction of knowledge regarding various cultural domains, and it involves the creation of new forms of organization of semiotic mediation and action by all participants instead of accepting messages as these are communicated.

Exchange and negotiation processes on stage are performed through guided participation. For schools, this implies that the teacher is a guide for the students learning, while participating with them, offering various types of assistance. The educational goal would be that the students adapt these culture resources through their involvement with other expert individuals in joint activities (Cubero et al., 2007).

The work by Coll and Onrubia (2001) includes a series of strategies and discourse resources used by teachers and students in the performance of activities and the development of school contents. The role of language is explicit in all these strategies not only to represent and communicate meanings, but also as a tool to negotiate and develop systems of shared meanings, which should be progressively richer and more complex. The importance of joint activities performed by teachers and students to construct new meanings is extended to the whole learning process by raising the educational value of the discourse of participants in the classroom, which is also evident in the evaluation processes of the results of the learning experiences made by students, in this case, in the field of laboratory practices. An evaluation according to the authors cannot be separated from the evaluation of the teaching-learning process.

The use of questions is one of them, where teachers generally cause expected information since they are the "primary connoisseurs" in terms of pedagogical knowledge (Nassaji & Wells, 2000). This discourse pattern, widely known as IRE and IRF (often called triadic dialogue), is designed for the teacher to start the discourse exchange (I), often in the form of a test or a visualization question, which predicts a student's response (R) providing known information. …

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