The Nature of Discourse throughout 5E Lessons in a Large Enrolment College Biology Course
Large enrolment science courses play a significant role in educating undergraduate students. The discourse in these classes usually involves an instructor lecturing with little or no student participation, despite calls from current science education reform documents to elicit and utilize students’ ideas in teaching. In this study, we used the 5E instructional model to develop and implement four lessons in a large enrolment introductory biology course with multiple opportunities for teacher-student and student-student interaction. Data consisted of video and audio recordings of whole-class and small-group discussions that took place throughout the study. We then used a science classroom discourse framework developed by Mortimer and Scott (2003) to characterize the discursive interactions in each 5E lesson phase. Analysis of the data resulted in two assertions. First, the purpose, communicative approach, patterns of discourse, and teaching interventions were unique to each 5E lesson phase. Second, the type of lesson topic influenced the content of the discourse. We discuss how the findings help characterize the discourse of each phase in a 5E college science lesson and propose a model to understand internalization through discursive interaction using this reform-based approach. We conclude with implications for facilitating discourse in college science lessons and future research. This study provides support for using the discourse framework to characterize discursive interaction in college science courses.
Sickel, A. J., Witzig, S. B., Vanmali, B. H., & Abell, S. K. (2013). The Nature of Discourse throughout 5E Lessons in a Large Enrolment College Biology Course. Research in Science Education, 43, 637–665.