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Title: The use of questions in primary science : a collaborative action research study
Author: Wilkinson, Deborah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 9265
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Science education research and policy highlight the importance of children being able to ask questions and engage in discussions in order to develop their conceptual understanding (Ofsted, 2013; Kim and Tan, 2011; Scott and Mortimer, 2003). However, ‘teacher talk’ and tightly controlled questioning sequences often dominates classroom exchanges and does little to develop children’s understanding of concepts(Yip, 2004). To challenge this practice, there is a need to understand the variables that support or prevent teachers from reflecting upon and changing their practices. This research, therefore, focuses on qualitative case studies to explore how two primary school teachers engaged in a collaborative action research project designed to advance questioning skills. Using periodic video recordings of lessons and interviews I examine the variables that contributed to a modification in questioning skills over the duration of two academic terms. The teachers chose different teaching approaches to achieve this: puppets or Thinking Cubes. Analysis of the data revealed that changing practice is complex. The choices teachers make when delivering science lessons are dependent upon an amalgam of variables such as level of subject knowledge, subject specific pedagogy, and the curriculum aims, as well as personal attributes and contextual issues relating to the school. However, the choice of teaching approach is important and may enable a teacher to modify their practice within a shorter time frame than expected. Previous research identified that change often takes more than a year (Postholme, 2012; Loughran, 2002). However, the teacher who used a puppet was able to plan his questioning sequences and the structure of his lessons strategically so that children actively problem-solved and raised questions. The implications of the study suggest that to support teacher development, there is a need to understand the individual biography of each teacher so that support can be personalised as well as supporting them to use a teaching approach that develops problem-solving and discussion.
Supervisor: Christodoulou, Antri ; Grace, Marcus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available