CHAPTER 16

Discourse in Science Classrooms

Gregory J. Kelly

Pennsylvania State University

Educational events occur through communication. Science learning can be conceptualized as students coming to know how to use specialized language, given the constraints of particular social configurations and cultural practices. Across different theoretical traditions, from the sociology and rhetoric of science to studies of classroom interaction, the importance of spoken and written discourse in the production and learning of disciplinary knowledge is becoming increasingly recognized as a salient research focus. The study of discourse, broadly defined, allows researchers to examine what counts as science in given contexts, how science is interactionally ...

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