The Emergence and Nature of Student-generated Questions in Virtual and Face-to-Face Secondary Science Classes


Questioning is a crucial part of scientific inquiry and meaningful learning of science. Questions asked by students help them to fill the gaps or discrepancies in knowledge, build better understanding, and direct their learning. They also indicate the learner's curiosity and deep thinking about presented scientific concepts. Student questioning has been found crucial in problem-solving, reasoning, and hypothesizing. Overall, the literature indicates that there is substantial educational potential in student-generated questions that could be used to impact students’ motivation, improve teaching, and foster the construction of scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, studies based on classroom observation suggest that students’ questioning in secondary science classes is both scarce and unsophisticated. It has been raised that students’ questions are usually closed, ambiguous and factual. Fewer students ask high-quality questions in which they explore science beyond the scope of the problem and the acquired knowledge. As a biology teacher and educator myself, I have identified students’ questions as an essential aspect of scientific discourse and an important tool in designing learning experiences for my students. Their presence seems to be crucial to create a dialogic nature of a class and promote discourse that pertains to the core concepts of scientific phenomena. The presentation will summarize the findings from fifteen classroom observations that were conducted in International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma science classes in an international school. The results revealed differences in the number, quality, and nature of students’ questions in virtual and face-to-face classes that could help to adapt instructional practices to the new teaching circumstances.

Author Information
Piotr Mazowiecki-Kocyk, University College London, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2022
Stream: Teaching Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon