SLRC Seminar Series – The effects of teacher-introduced multimodal representations and discourse on students’ task engagement and scientific language during cooperative, inquiry-based science

Date: Wednesday 23rd November

Time:  4.30 – 6.00pm (45 minute presentation, followed by 15 minutes question time and 30 minute tea/coffee)

Venue: Level 7 Seminar Room, Queensland Brain Institute (Building #79) The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus

Speakers: Professor Robyn Gillies, The School of Education, The University of Queensland

Does teaching make a difference to students’ learning? Professor Robyn Gillies proposes to address this question during her seminar presentation on:

Title: The effects of teacher-introduced multimodal representations and discourse on students’ task engagement and scientific language during cooperative, inquiry-based science

Scientific literacy involves students being able to interpret and use different representations including language, text, diagrams, tables, models, drawings, portfolios, artefacts, and embodied forms such as gesture, role play and exhibitions of performance; in short use a range of multimodal representations. In fact, it is argued that scientific literacy is a way of thinking, finding, organising, and using information to make decisions. Specifically, it involves helping individuals to: (a) be interested in the world around them; (b) use and engage in the discourses of science; (c) be sceptical and questioning; (d) draw evidence-based conclusions; and, (e) make informed decisions about the environment and their wellbeing. Moreover, students not only need to be competent at using, critiquing, and explaining representations but they also need to be able to learn new representations quickly with minimal instruction and, in so doing, demonstrate meta-representational competence. In fact, it is argued that the discipline of science should be seen as the integration of multi-modal discourses where different modes are used to represent and communicate various understandings.

The study reported here sought to determine the effects of teacher-introduced multimodal representations and discourse on students’ task engagement and scientific language during cooperative, inquiry-based science. The study involved eight Year 6 teachers in two conditions (4 very effective teachers & 4 effective teachers) who taught two units of inquiry-based science across two school terms. The results show that the very effective teachers spent significantly more time engaged in using embodied representations to illustrate points or communicate information. They also spent significantly more time engaged in interrogating students’ understandings and scaffolding and challenging their thinking than the effective teachers. In turn, the students in the very effective teachers’ classes spent significantly more time on-task and used significantly more relevant basic and scientific language to explain the phenomena they were investigating than their peers in the effective teachers’ classes. These are behaviours and language that are associated with successful learning in science.

RSVP (for catering purposes): https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/slrc-seminar-series-the-effects-of-teacher-introduced-multimodal-representations-and-discourse-on-tickets-29034652427

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For more information on the SLRC please visit www.slrc.org.au.

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