Scrutinising the positions of students and teacher engaged in argumentation in a high school physics classroom

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Despite the importance of scientific argumentation, it rarely occurs in science classrooms. Researchers have designed argumentation interventions to bridge this gap, but those efforts have limited impacts on transforming existing classroom practices. Argumentation is a linguistically social interaction. It is necessary to go beyond understanding the input and output of an argumentation innovation and comprehend the interactive process. In this case study, my focus dealt with understanding how a high school physics class adapted argumentation practices. I scrutinised the intellectual ecology of that classroom with a focus on the social dynamic of individuals during argumentation through the lens of interlocutors’ positions. Through close observation of a physics teacher and his 23 high school students for 6 months, I summarised the patterns of how individual variation in the competences of scientific content knowledge and rhetoric argumentation skills shaped the social dynamic of classroom argumentation, and then the adaption of argumentation practices. With the findings, I suggested features advantageous for argumentation implementation, such as comparably strong academic competences and externally motivating tasks. I also discussed the implications for argumentation implementation in high school science classes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-49
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Argumentation
  • case study
  • high school physics
  • positioning


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