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Questioning and Thinking in Science

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Questioning and Thinking in Science Prof. Lynn Newton (Professor of Primary Education) School of Education Leazes Road Durham DH1 1TA L.D.Newton_at_durham.ac.uk – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Questioning and Thinking in Science


1
Questioning and Thinking in Science
  • Prof. Lynn Newton
  • (Professor of
  • Primary Education)
  • School of Education
  • Leazes Road
  • Durham DH1 1TA
  • L.D.Newton_at_durham.ac.uk

2
Context
  • Questioning in educational contexts has a long
    history.
  • The past century has seen the development of a
    number of ways to categorise and use questions.
  • Questioning for purpose has been less well
    considered.
  • ? Why do we (teachers) do it?
  • This is part of a larger study to explore this
    issue with over 500 primary children (Y1 to Y6).
  • Data are interpreted in the light of developments
    in cognitive psychology, particularly mental
    model theory.

3
Focus
  • Three strands to this seminar
  • 1) Questioning as a strategy
  • 2) Primary Science
  • 3) Pedagogical Purpose
  • ? Understanding and Productive Thinking
  • How does teachers questioning in primary science
    lessons support the construction of understanding
    and productive thinking?

4
Questioning Socrates
5
Questioning Catechismic teaching
6
Questioning Object lessons in science
7
Questioning Taxonomies
8
Questioning Problems with Taxonomies
  • Dillon (1980s) ? compared questioning strategies
    in different contexts
  • Walberg (1984) ? compared effectiveness of
    different instructional variables, including
    higher order questioning
  • Morgan Saxton (1991) ? added the emotional
    dimension and context to the study of questioning

9
Questioning Walbergs findings
10
Questioning the research so far
  • - North American / Canadian / Australian in
    origin
  • - Focus on secondary schools or beyond
  • - Use the Carroll model as a research model
  • INPUT ? Black box ? OUTPUT
  • Not science
  • ? Open the black box
  • What purpose does questioning in science
    serve?

11
Questioning in Primary Science
  • National Curriculum questioning to
  • develop awareness of
  • know that
  • understand
  • Teacher as questioning role model
  • Ofsted and asking effective questions

12
Questioning Stage 1
  • First step survey of current practice
  • ? self-report questionnaire
  • ? sample of 52 primary teachers
  • ? observation of half teaching science lessons
  • ? analysis of schemes of work
  • Found Situation here no different to other
    countries

13
Teachers claimed to plan their questions and
their use of both lower and higher order
questions .
14
Teachers dominate the classroom talk .
15
. And questions dominate the teacher talk
16
Many of the questions were factual recall
questions
17
Surrogate Teachers texts and schemes
18
Questioning Stage 2
  • Next step ? explore childrens ability to handle
    different types of question
  • Factual
  • Singly
  • Comprehension or in
  • Combination
  • Analysis / Synthesis
  • Working with nearly 600 primary children (Y1 to
    Y6) using a controlled experiment (torchlight).
  • How can teachers questions be more effective?

19
Questioning A theoretical framework
  • Research in Cognitive Psychology ?
  • beginning to explain the processes inside the
    black box
  • INPUT ? ?
    OUTPUT
  • Teacher asks
    Pupil answers
  • question question
  • What happens in between?
  • Constructing Understanding ?
  • mental model theory (Johnson-Laird, 1983)

20
So what are mental models?
  • 1. Representations of reality based on
  • - our perceptions (e.g. real models and
    experiences) or imaginary constructions (e.g.
    abstractions, like a clock as a model for the
    rotation of the Earth).
  • 2. We use mental models to think and reason with
  • - manipulate our ideas in a purpose-related way.
  • 3. When we encounter and new situation or event
    and represent it like this we say we understand
  • - when you understand you have a mental model of
    the idea, situation or event.
  • 4. The idea of mental models can be used as a
    guide to effective questioning in science
  • - framework for question purpose

21
  • INPUT
    OUTPUT
  • Teacher What is happening
    Pupil answers
  • asks question in the working memory
    question

22
Questioning the Framework
  • Declarative
    Rules for
  • Procedural
    Inferencing
  • REFORMULATION
    ARTICULATION
  • Situation Situation
    Progenerative Generated
  • to be Models
    State State
  • Understood

  • COMPARISON

23
Questioning Stage 3
  • Second controlled experiment, again with the 600
    pupils
  • Comparison of two types of questions Factual
    (F) and Mental Model (MM)
  • With to approaches Full information (Full) and
    Problem Solving (PS)
  • Therefore, the 600 children randomly assigned to
    four different experimental groups F
    Full
  • F PS
  • MM Full
  • MM PS
  • Context causal situation that requires the
    pupils to construct an explanatory mental model
    Torchlight

24
Considered
  • The effect of each variable in turn in the
    childrens respnses
  • a kind of question (Factual or Mental Model)
  • b approach (full exposition or problem solving)
  • c age of pupils (3 groups Y12 Y34 Y56)
  • d quality of response (SOLO taxonomy
    classification of keywords for causal
    explanations scored 0/1/2/3)

25
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26
Questioning Stage 4
  • Final stage ? different types of understanding
    require different types of mental models in
    science
  • Descriptive mental models of situations ? common
    in biological sciences
  • (2) Explanatory mental models of cause and effect
    situations ? common in physical sciences
  • Returned to textual materials for KS1 / LKS2 /
    UKS2 and chose 2 topics Feeding Relationships
    Gravity
  • Tested the children again with and without
    questions for
  • (a) effect of questions (w / w-o)
  • (b) quality of response (understanding)

27
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28
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30
Finally
  • Current work
  • in science and across the primary
    curriculum
  • Teaching for understanding
  • Strategies that support understanding (including
  • scientific enquiry / problem solving /
  • using analogy / )pupils questioning)
  • Q-U-E-ing (questioning for understanding
  • explanation
  • Teaching for creative thinking
  • Contact
  • L.D.Newton_at_durham.ac.uk
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