Preservice Teachers Noticing and Positioning Students as “Knowers” in Equitable Scientific Argumentation-Based Discussions

Preservice Teachers Noticing and Positioning Students as “Knowers” in Equitable Scientific Argumentation-Based Discussions

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-8296-4.ch010
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This study investigated how preservice elementary teachers' (PSTs) noticed the discourse practices they used to position students and their scientific thinking as they engaged a group of student avatars in argumentation-based simulated discussions. Using qualitative methods, 82 teaching reflections from 28 PSTs were analyzed. Findings indicate that in most reflections (66%), the PSTs were able to support co-construction of knowledge in the Mursion ® simulations. A further 28% of the reflections indicated that one student was positioned as a “knower,” suggesting the beginning of power shifts within the classroom discussions. In just 6% of the reflections, the teacher was the person responsible for constructing knowledge. These findings suggest that simulations may provide PSTs with opportunities to practice positioning students as capable of explaining and questioning one another's ideas, and to develop teachers' skills to notice the discourse practices they use to build collective consensus in argumentation-based discussions.
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A growing body of research has drawn attention to the ways that students from low-income communities, students of color, and students who speak first languages other than English have had limited access to equitable and meaningful opportunities to learn in science (Bang et al., 2017; Haverly et al., 2020). This research has shown that classroom discourse practices, in particular, have reinforced the status quo in terms of whose culture is privileged and who has power (Bang et al., 2017; McDuffie et al., 2014; Shah & Coles, 2020; van Es et al., 2017; Yerrick & Gilbert, 2011). To create more equitable opportunities for students, teachers should learn to notice for equity (van Es et al., 2017) and attend to the kinds of discourse practices they use that do or do not promote equitable instruction. Research on noticing for equity has focused on teacher noticing related to a variety of foci: students’ classroom participation (van Es et al., 2017; Wager, 2014), teachers’ deficit views of student thinking (Chao et al., 2014), students’ multiple knowledge bases that include cultural, home, and community-based knowledge (Turner et al., 2012), and student strengths from marginalized communities (Louie, 2018). When teachers notice, they attend to a noteworthy interaction in their instruction, interpret it by assigning meaning to what they see, and then respond by deciding what to do next (Jacobs et al., 2010). When we use “noticing” in this chapter, we refer to what preservice teachers (PSTs) are attending to, and how they interpret and respond to what they see when they reflect on videos of their instruction. In particular, we are interested in the ways they attend to and position themselves and their students in their science instruction. While much teacher noticing research focuses on teachers’ attention to student thinking (Benedict-Chambers & Aram, 2017; Goldsmith & Seago, 2011; Jacobs et al., 2010; Sherin & Han, 2004; van Es & Sherin, 2008); in this chapter, we extend this work by examining how PSTs observe (i.e., attend to) and understand (i.e., interpret) the discourse practices they use to position students and their thinking.

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