Representation and Discourse in the Science Classroom

Friday 7 December 2018
Deakin Downtown

A conversation about the mutual coordination between representational transformation and classroom discourse progression: methodological and pedagogical issues.

Event details

Past research on classroom discourse has for many years bracketed the role of non-verbal representations. At the same time, much of the research on representation has focused on the forms and functions of multiple representations without linking to the situated nature and dynamics of classroom interaction. Yet, representation and classroom discourse are intertwined in mutually constitutive ways; as classroom discourse shapes the use and transformation of representations, so does representations act as a frame to contextualise and enable classroom discourse progression.

The focus of this talk is to have a conversation on ways to integrate these two research threads. Dr Kok-Sing Tang (Curtain University) will present some of his previous works that attempt to make connections between classroom discourse and representations, both methodologically in analysing classroom ethnographic and video data, and pedagogically in promoting science learning with representations.

Specifically, he will touch on a number of challenging issues, such as:

  • moving across analytical timescales from broad to fine-grained analysis
  • metalanguage and coding of representations
  • tension between dialogic and authoritative talk
  • tension between student-generated and canonical representations.

Morning tea will be served at 11am, after which time we'll hold a general discussion about language and science – you're more than welcome to stay and join in if you can.

Kok-Sing Tan

Kok-Sing Tang is a senior lecturer at the School of Education and the discipline lead of the STEM Education Research Group at Curtin University. He received a BA and MSc in physics from the University of Cambridge and a MA and PhD in education from the University of Michigan.

His research examines how language and representations afford, mediate and support science literacy. He is a co-founder of the SIG Languages & Literacies in Science Education within the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA). He is also a recipient of a recent ARC Discovery Grant on drawing and scientific creativity.

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Key information

Date and time

Friday 7 December 2018


Deakin Downtown
Level 12, Tower 2 Collins Square,
727 Collins Street,
Victoria 3008