Rocky Mountain Section - 72nd Annual Meeting - 2020

Paper No. 5-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM


PREMO, Joshua, Department of Biology, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT 84058 and COLLINS, Larry, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163

Collaboration, communication, and critique involve forms of discourse central to the social aspects of scientific practice. Student discourse is thus a critical science practice in alignment with reform documents in K-12 (NGSS Lead States, 2013) and undergraduate earth science (ESLI, 2010) which emphasize the need for skills alongside knowledge of content. Yet to what extent can supporting students’ discourse be a vehicle by which greater knowledge of content can arise? Furthermore, to what degree are the effects of active learning instructional practices (many which rely on student discourse) impacted by the quality of student-student discourse? The potential of discourse-based research to inform instructional practices in geoscience education is great, yet discourse has received very little attention by the geoscience education community. In contrast, discourse research has grown in other fields over the last decade to reveal effective forms of discourse (types of interactions most closely tied to learning) and structures that promote student use of these forms (curricular design, organization of activities, instructor prompting). This talk will begin with introducing the field of discourse-based research with a specific focus on science education contexts. Next the talk will explore what we currently know about the relationships between student discourse, instructor practice, and learning in order to provide geoscience instructors with findings critical to their practice . Finally, the authors will review some of their recent work investigating factors that impact collaboration in undergraduate science and how to optimize discourse to promote learning. Attendees will leave the talk with an introduction to discourse-based research, knowledge of how to identify effective forms of discourse in their classrooms, and a variety of strategies for encouraging more effective discourse between their students.