Paper: Supervision support for student inquiry and agency in natural science

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Although there is ongoing interest in inquiry-based science education at practice, research, and policy levels, the methods advocated often remain teacher-initiated and teacher-led. In contrast, this study considers a distinct form of student-directed inquiry practised in science education at Roskilde University (RUC) in Denmark. In problem-oriented project learning (PPL), student groups work with a supervisor to develop the topic of inquiry, negotiate and trial the experiment design, and consolidate the results into a collaborative report.

Theoretical Outlook
The study draws on Dewey’s (1938) understanding that scientific inquiry is a practice, where scientists – including student scientists – engage actively in decision-making and evaluation processes. We combine this with a view of student agency in learning situations – considering the instances where students demonstrate curiosity, using their own interests to take intentional and reflective action within learning environments to influence their educational trajectories (Klemenčič, 2015).

With an aim to investigate how supervisors support student agency and substantive conversation in PPL, we work with video data recorded during supervision sessions conducted in 2020. A discursive analysis of transcripts of student-supervisor conversations provides insight into student agency and supervision strategies that support substantive student thinking in student-designed inquiry.

Our analysis explores the role of questioning, listening, and responding in supervisor-student learning conversations, with an aim to identify the discursive techniques supervisors use that support substantive student thinking.

Our considerations explore the importance of reciprocity in dialogue between students and supervisor. We are especially interested in the role of listening techniques as students articulate in-process and unfinished thinking, and how questions scaffold and support student inquiry.

Dewey, J. (1938). Logic: The theory of inquiry. Henry Holt and Company Inc.

Klemenčič, M. (2015). What is student agency? An ontological exploration in the context of research on student engagement. In M. Klemencic, S. Bergan & R. Primozic (Eds.) Student engagement in Europe: society, higher education and student governance. Council of Europe Higher Education Series No. 20, 11-29. Council of Europe Publishing.
Periode8 okt. 2021
BegivenhedstitelDansk Universitetspædagogisk Netværk Konference 2021: Nærhed og Nysgerrighed
Grad af anerkendelseNational