Students as a resource to learning and their achievement
Research into the teaching of science has suggested that student learning resulted from personal and social processes promoting communication and construction of knowledge. The teacher has an interventionist role. The current research project aims to investigate the process of student involvement during instruction by dialogue and if such involvement has an effect on learning outcomes. Videotapes were made of thirteen biology lessons for year 10 students in a girls independent selective school. Individual student behaviour profiles in relation to answering and asking questions, the psychological cognitive demands made of the students in answering questions, and the teacher's questions and immediate help provided for the students to answer them, added to the picture of the interactions. The evidence suggested that the teacher made the students a resource to learning. Qualitative analysis showed how the teacher's strategies helped students locate and link topic information. Socratic questioning and scaffolding techniques were identified but scaffolding did not involve fading. The students utilised prior and new information, and scaffolded one another. Concept maps were used to represent how teacher and student interaction lead to expanded networks of information. A theoretical analysis of the dialogue illustrated parallel and reciprocal teacher and student activities. This allowed the construction of a model of learning within an integration theory framework. Individual student profiles showed that low participation was associated with low success in answering questions in lessons. Greater participation in the dialogue was linked to greater success. There was not a direct relationship between participation and success. A comparison of students' behaviour during lessons and examinations results showed that the lower rates of participation in the dialogue led to the least successful examination performance. Higher level participation in the lessons led to more successful examination performance, but there was not a simple relationship between the two.