Session S50b (Tuesday, 2pm, Thomas 201)

P576: Theoretical and methodological considerations for the study of classroom activities

Gregory Kelly (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

In this talk I present theoretical arguments for the study of spoken and written discourse in science classrooms. Drawing from science studies, sociolinguistics, and activity theory, I describe my theoretical framework, identity key premises of research from this perspective, and discuss the aims and purposes of classroom research. The theoretical framework is applied to two studies from college teaching that demonstrate the importance of situating the study of discourse in social practices, making choices about units of analysis and time scales, and considering the multiple types of discourse forming the interpretative field in a given science education setting. These descriptive studies provide examples for reflection and critique, thus demystifying scientific and pedagogical knowledge and practice. For each of the two studies, I describe how these analyses of classroom activities lead to educational implications.


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