Following a sociocultural perspective on learning, we report an analysis of meaning making about Darwinist explanations during discursive interactions in biology classrooms. To perform this analysis, we used a conceptual profile of adaptation in combination with a framework developed by Mortimer and Scott (2003) as a tool for analyzing classroom discourse, grounded on the dialogic theory of language of the Bakhtin circle and Vygotsky’s account of the development of higher mental functions. We discuss how the results obtained through this kind of analysis make it possible to characterize in semantic, linguistic, and social terms the relationship between discursive interactions and meaning making in the science classroom, and bring contributions to the planning of teaching interventions, especially, to the management of communicative approaches and language use in the interactions between teachers and students, as a way of increasing the likelihood that students appropriate the school science perspective. An important asset in the science classroom is to explicitly approach the meaning of different ways of speaking in order to support the students in the task of becoming aware of the distinctive features of everyday and school science social languages. In the case of teaching about the theory of evolution by natural selection, it is important that the students are stimulated to master ways of speaking closer to the variational perspective zone in our adaptation profile model. This can be done, for instance, by promoting their construction of utterances in which the organisms appear as objects of the evolutionary process instead of utterances in which the organisms appear as subjects of evolutionary change; and by reconstructing narratives produced in a language characterized by personification and anthropomorfization to talk about evolution processes into narratives of chains of events without clear protagonist agents, which result in the evolution of populations of organisms.
This volume of the
World of Science Education gathers contributions from Latin American science education researchers covering a variety of topics that will be of interest to educators and researchers all around the world. The volume provides an overview of research in Latin America, and most of the chapters report findings from studies seldom available for Anglophone readers. They bring new perspectives, thus, to topics such as science teaching and learning; discourse analysis and argumentation in science education; history, philosophy and sociology of science in science teaching; and science education in non-formal settings. As the Latin American academic communities devoted to science education have been thriving for the last four decades, the volume brings an opportunity for researchers from other regions to get acquainted with the developments of their educational research. This will bring contributions to scholarly production in science education as well as to teacher education and teaching proposals to be implemented in the classroom.