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The role of questions in the science classroom: how girls and boys respond to teachers' questions
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Science Education and Mathematics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6981-0162
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Science Education and Mathematics.
Aarhus University, København NV, Denmark.
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 39, no 4, 433-452 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to explore (a) to what extent male and female science teachers pose different types of questions and (b) if the type of science question posed influences the extent to which boys or girls respond to them. Transcripts of the teacher–student interaction in a whole-class situation were analysed, with attention paid to interactions that involved science questions. Closed and open questions were used. Results revealed that the percentage of closed questions posed corresponded to 87%. Results show that teachers mainly use closed questions, and responses from boys to closed questions are in the majority regardless of if the question is posed by a female teacher (56%) or a male teacher (64%). Both categories of closed questions are mainly considered lower order questions that do not facilitate higher cognitive levels in students. Thus, a direct consequence of an excessive use of this type of questions may be that both boys and girls will be given less opportunities to practise their ability to talk about science. Less access to general classroom interaction may also affect girls’ attitudes to science in a negative way which could ultimately hamper the recruitment of girls to higher scientific studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 39, no 4, 433-452 p.
Keyword [en]
Science education, gender open or closed question
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-30575DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2017.1289420ISI: 000399604700002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85014441257OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-30575DiVA: diva2:1086960
Available from: 2017-04-05 Created: 2017-04-05 Last updated: 2017-07-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Att kommunicera skolans naturvetenskap: ett genusperspektiv på elevers deltagande i gemensam och enskild kommunikation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att kommunicera skolans naturvetenskap: ett genusperspektiv på elevers deltagande i gemensam och enskild kommunikation
2017 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Both individual and whole class communication of students are described in this thesis, which is based on a clear gender perspective. Two articles describe the participation of boys and girls in communication with the whole class, the empirical data collected consisting of videotaped lessons. The extent to which boys and girls participate in the communication is reported in the first study, and in the second the extent to which boys and girls respond to the teacher's closed or open questions about science is presented. The third study reports boys' and girls' individual communication when responding to written science questions. The summary chapter ties the results together from the perspective of Positioning Theory, making the thesis a result of Mixed Methods Research.

Results show that boys participate in whole class communication more often than girls, with approximately the same level of dominance as shown in research from the early 80s. Boys also answer more questions than girls, the differences becoming apparent when teachers ask closed questions that can be answered in one or two words. In isolation, girls answer written questions to the same extent as boys, but give longer responses containing a more developed scientific language.

Results showing that boys position themselves as knowledgeable more often than girls when teachers ask closed questions, are explained from the perspective of Positioning Theory. Girls more often position themselves as knowledgeable when teachers ask open questions that require reflection. In test situations, with time for reflection, the boys and girls position themselves as knowledgeable students to the same extent.

Teachers need to be aware of the positioning attempts created by teaching, and consequently take into account that different approaches in teaching provide boys and girls with different access to the communication space.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2017. 98 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 260
Keyword
Naturvetenskaplig kommunikation, positionering, genus, Mixed Methods Research
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-30611 (URN)978-91-88527-12-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-02, E409, Sundsvall, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbete opublicerat: delarbete 3 accepterat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished: paper 3 accepted.

Available from: 2017-04-19 Created: 2017-04-19 Last updated: 2017-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Eliasson, NinaKarlsson, Karl Göran
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