Discourse Analysis: A Tool for Helping Educators to Teach Science

Katerina Plakitsi, Panagiotis Piliouras, George Efthimiou


This article refers to a part of a collaborative action research project in three elementary science classrooms. The project aims at the transformation of the nature and type of teachers' discursive practices into more collaborative inquiries. The basic strategy is to give the teachers the opportunity to analyze their discourse using a three-dimensional context of analysis. The teachers analyzed their discursive repertoires when teaching science. They studied the companion meaning, i.e., the different layers of explicit and tacit messages they communicate about Nature of Science (NoS), Nature of Teaching (NoT), and Nature of Language (NoL). The question investigated is the following: Could an action research program, which involves teachers in the analysis of their own discursive practices, lead to the transformation of discourse modes that take place in the science classrooms to better communicate aspects of NoS, NoT and NoL in a collaborative, inquiry-based context? Results indicate that the teachers' involvement in their discourse analysis led to a transformation in the discursive repertoires in their science classrooms. Gradually, the teachers' companion meanings that were created, implicitly/explicitly, from the dialogues taking place during science lessons were more appropriate for the establishment of a productive collaborative inquiry learning context. We argue that discourse analysis could be used for research purposes, as a training medium or as a reflective tool on how teachers communicate science.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs170168


teachers as researchers; collaborative inquiry; discourse analysis; companion meanings

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Copyright (c) 2016 Panagiotis Piliouras, Katerina Plakitsi, George Efthimiou

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