Integrating disciplinary-specific genre structure in discourse strategies to support disciplinary literacy
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Classroom discourse plays an important role in shaping how students learn science in the classroom. Past research has examined how content area teachers use a variety of generic discourse strategies to foster classroom interaction and content mastery. However, few have focused on how teachersâ€™ discourse strategy can be used in more specific ways to build subject-specialized genres of the discipline, such as scientific explanation. The purpose of this study is to examine how science teachers integrate disciplinary-specific genres in their discourse strategies to engage their students in thinking about the conceptual and epistemic aspects of the discipline. Through a three-year design research, four science teachers learned a genre-based instructional method designed to explicitly teach students how to construct scientific explanations. Lesson observations from these teachers before and after they learned the genre-based instruction were video-recorded and analyzed. It was found that with the incorporation of the genre-based instructional method, a discourse strategy that we call meta-discoursing was employed in ne w ways to facilitate the teaching of the explanation genre. Using multiple exemplars, we describe the ways in which this discourse strategy was enacted in tandem with the genre-based instructional method to facilitate disciplinary literacy through classroom talk.
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