Interactive whole class teaching in science lessons in Key Stage 2 classes

McMahon, K (2010) Interactive whole class teaching in science lessons in Key Stage 2 classes. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

K. McMahon 2010.pdf

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This study aims to contribute to the development of models of teaching science at Key Stage 2 (pupils aged 7-11 years) by considering the role of 'interactive whole class teaching', a teaching strategy advocated by the UK government's primary literacy and numeracy strategies in the late 1990s. An exploration of the meaning of 'interactive whole class teaching' brings a sociocultural perspective on the role of talk to the predominantly social constructivist models of teaching science in primary schools. Two case studies of primary teachers' practice have been constructed, each consisting of a sequence of lessons that make up an entire science topic, providing a rich, situated account of the role of interactive whole class teaching in science lessons over an extended time. A key method of enquiry has been the analysis of video data and respondent validation through video stimulated reflective dialogues. The meanings of dialogic and authoritative episodes of whole class teaching are considered in terms of the development of conceptual and procedural scientific knowledge on the social plane of the class over episodes, lessons and sequences of lessons. The findings indicate that whole class teaching has a role in the ongoing elicitation and discussion of children's ideas about concepts and procedures, creating and maintaining an intermental development zone for the class. It also has a role in modelling scientific procedures, and in exploring the relationship between phenomena, experiment and explanations to construct a version of science. Recommendations are made as to how the existing models of teaching science could make the relationships between the nature of whole class interactions, type of teaching activities and pedagogical aims more explicit. The case studies raise questions about determining an appropriate balance between dialogic and authoritative talk in primary science to develop a discourse that values both existing scientific knowledge and children's appropriation and transformation of this knowledge through negotiation within the social plane of the primary classroom.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Bath Spa University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Keywords: Group work, science education, teaching methods
Divisions: School of Education
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Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 09:43
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 13:29
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