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Examining the effects of teaching assistants’ responsiveness through talk moves on student explanatory rigor in an undergraduate biology laboratory course

Barnes, Evan Randall (2021) Examining the effects of teaching assistants’ responsiveness through talk moves on student explanatory rigor in an undergraduate biology laboratory course. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the ways that teaching assistants (TAs) enact talk moves in the classroom and how those enactments may change over time. Further, the TAs responsiveness to student ideas was examined in an attempt to understand how TA responsiveness impacts the rigor of student discourse. Tracking talk move patterns in TAs across time in addition to examining relationships between TA responsiveness and student explanatory rigor during an elicitation discussion has not been previously studied at the post-secondary level. A mixed-methods approach was employed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data through coded and statistical analysis of classroom transcripts taken in an introductory biology laboratory course at a large research university in the United States. Results from the study show that there were not statistically significant trends in TA talk move patterns across the semesters under investigation, suggesting need for restructured TA pedagogical training. Results from the study also demonstrate a clear, statistically significant relationship between TA responsiveness, as determined by talk moves and the explanatory rigor of student contributions. Specifically, high rigor contributions can only be achieved when coupled with ambitious instructor responsiveness. Further results indicate the importance of TA language use when pressing students for explanations, the TA patterns in moving student talk from low to high rigor, and specific talk moves that contribute to the highest student explanatory rigor. Implications of this study will be of interest to postsecondary science educators, researchers, and professional development creators who work to reform and improve science education.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: College; Responsiveness; Rigor; Teaching Assistant; Biology laboratory course; Talk move patterns;
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Education > Teaching and Learning
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2022 17:15
Last Modified: 19 May 2022 08:30
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5721

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