Promoting discussion in a lower secondary science classroom
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
With the advancing world, it is the need of the day to shift from the transmission mode of teaching towards conceptual understanding, where children can build their understanding by playing a central role. Discussion is one such process that can be used to help students construct their own understanding, and communication and thinking skills. Discussion can be incorporated in any of the teaching strategies. However, it is hardly practiced in the classroom. Recitation remains the predominant form of interactive talk. Therefore, the aim of this study was to promote discussion in the lower secondary class of a private school. The action research methodology based on Kemmis, Mc Taggart and Retallick's (2004) cyclic model was used. Different phases of the model are; identifying the general idea, reconnaissance, plan, act, observe, reflect, and then enter into the next cycle by re-planning. Data were collected through interview and classroom observation. Analysis was carried out in two steps; on-going analysis throughout the data collection and overall analysis at the completion of field work. Various teaching strategies (e.g. poster, Predict-Observe- Explain, discrepant event, etc.) and classroom organizations (e.g. whole class, group work, etc.) were used to promote discussion. Findings revealed that the use of various teaching strategies, especially POE and discrepant events encouraged the children to participate in discussion, Furthermore, children showed more interest when they were involved in discussion by linking science with daily life. A gradual shift in the level of difficulty of activities supported promoting discussion in the classroom' The study also highlighted facilitating factors (e.g daily life objects, proper planning, setting rules, etc) and challenges (e.g time, completion of syllabus, etc.) faced in promoting discussion. The study has implications for Science teachers as well as for teacher educators in their teaching of Science and in conducting professional training programmes respectively.
Anwar, N. (2007). Promoting discussion in a lower secondary science classroom (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.