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Investigating and theorizing discourse during analogy writing in chemistry

Authors

  • Alberto Bellocchi,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
    • School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia.
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  • Stephen M. Ritchie

    1. School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
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Abstract

Explanations of the role of analogies in learning science at a cognitive level are made in terms of creating bridges between new information and students' prior knowledge. In this empirical study of learning with analogies in an 11th grade chemistry class, we explore an alternative explanation at the “social” level where analogy shapes classroom discourse. Students in the study developed analogies within small groups and with their teacher. These classroom interactions were monitored to identify changes in discourse that took place through these activities. Beginning from socio-cultural perspectives and hybridity, we investigated classroom discourse during analogical activities. From our analyses, we theorized a merged discourse that explains how the analog discourse becomes intertwined with the target discourse generating a transitional state where meanings, signs, symbols, and practices are in flux. Three categories were developed that capture how students intertwined the analog and target discourses—merged words, merged utterances/sentences, and merged practices. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 771–792, 2011

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