Investigating the discursive interactions in the elementary science classroom

Yılmaz Soysal


This study explored three aspects of classroom discourse that was conducted in elementary science classroom by a Vygotskian manner. Disciplinary content of conversations was matter (atomic structure) and modelling. Through a validated analytical framework, communicative approaches, teaching purposes and patterns of interactions were analysed. It was found that the teacher enacted both authoritative and dialogic sides of teaching episodes. Regarding teaching purposes, the teacher guided the students for engaging in a travel between micro (part), macro (whole) and symbolic (communicative) dimensions by negotiating atoms and modelling. Regarding teaching purposes, the teacher directed the students to interrogate challenges to compose models that were expected to incorporate reality. Regarding patterns of interactions, teacher-student exchanges were pervasive among others (e.g., student-student). These findings were discussed by taking current theories of classroom discourse into account and recommendations were offered for teachers’ professional development.


Communicative approaches; Teaching purposes; Patterns of interactions; Classroom discourse; Modelling

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