Analyzing science teachers’ support of dialogic argumentation using teacher roles of questioning and communicative approaches

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Jonathan Kilpelä
Jenna Hiltunen
Markus Hähkiöniemi
Kaisa Jokiranta
Sami Lehesvuori
Pasi Nieminen
Jouni Viiri


The purpose of this study is to investigate how teachers use different types of discourse to support dialogic argumentation. Dialogic argumentation is a collaborative process in which students construct arguments together and examine arguments presented by their peers. Science teachers can use argumentation as a vehicle to help students gain a working understanding of science content and the nature of science and its practices. Whole-class closing discussions from video-recorded lessons are analyzed to study the discourse used to support argumentation by two physics teachers in lower secondary schools. Analysis of discourse includes coding of communicative approach at the episode level and coding of teacher roles of questioning at the level of speaking turns. Student argumentation is also assessed on the basis of dialogicity and complexity of arguments. Findings characterize different ways of orchestrating argumentative discussions. Authoritative episodes were characterized by the presence of the dispenser role, with teachers retaining ownership over ideas and classroom activities to emphasize the correctness of a justification. Dialogic episodes of classroom interaction showed openness to student perspectives, but teachers’ use of questioning roles revealed different ways of orchestrating argumentative discussions. The moderator role granted ownership of ideas to students to either pursue a single student’s argument in more depth or to directly contrast opposing justifications. Less commonly used were the roles of coach and participant, which teachers used to elicit student justifications in more depth or support students in examining the arguments of their peers. Examination of discourse using multiple frameworks revealed differences in teachers’ values and the impact of the use of teacher questioning roles on student contributions to argumentative discussions.

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How to Cite
Kilpelä, J., Hiltunen, J., Hähkiöniemi, M., Jokiranta, K., Lehesvuori, S., Nieminen, P., & Viiri, J. (2023). Analyzing science teachers’ support of dialogic argumentation using teacher roles of questioning and communicative approaches. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal, 11(3), A88-A118.
Author Biographies

Jonathan Kilpelä, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Jonathan Kilpelä is a teacher-researcher who graduated with a Master of Arts in Educational Sciences from the University of Jyväskylä.  After working as a research assistant in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Jyväskylä, Jonathan currently teaches secondary science at the International School of Helsinki.

Jenna Hiltunen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Jenna Hiltunen is a project researcher at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä.  Her research interests include mathematics learning, international assessment studies, and dialogic argumentation for mathematics learning.

Markus Hähkiöniemi, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Markus Hähkiöniemi works as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Jyväskylä.  His research interests include inquiry-based mathematics teaching, technology enriched mathematics learning, classroom interaction, and argumentation.

Kaisa Jokiranta, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Kaisa Jokiranta is a specialist at LIKES in the University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä. She is currently studying support of university students' wellbeing and physical activity.

Sami Lehesvuori, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Sami Lehesvuori works as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of Jyväskylä.  His research interests include dialogic teaching, classroom interaction in science teaching, argumentation in science teaching, and science teacher education and professional development.

Pasi Nieminen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Pasi Nieminen works as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Jyväskylä.  His research interests include differentiation in inquiry-based science learning, argumentation in science and mathematics education, assessment in science and mathematics education, and multiple representations in physics learning.

Jouni Viiri, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Jouni Viiri is a professor emeritus at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Jyväskylä.  His research interests include classroom interactions in science teaching and learning, simulations in science teaching and learning, assessment, models and representations, eye-tracking studies, and automated speech recognition.


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