Dialogical Argumentation and Reasoning in Elementary Science Classrooms


Science educators have come to recognize children’s reasoning and problem solving skills as crucial ingredients of scientific literacy. As a consequence, there has been a concurrent, widespread emphasis on argumentation as a way of developing critical and creative minds. Argumentation has been of increasing interest in science education as a means of actively involving students in science and, thereby, as a means of promoting their learning, reasoning, and problem solving. Many approaches to teaching argumentation place primacy on teaching the structure of the argumentative genre prior to and at the beginning of participating in argumentation. Such an approach, however, is unlikely to succeed because to meaningfully learn the structure (grammar) of argumentation, one already needs to be competent in argumentation. This book offers a different approach to children’s argumentation and reasoning based on dialogical relations, as the origin of internal dialogue (inner speech) and higher psychological functions. In this approach, argumentation first exists as dialogical relation, for participants who are in a dialogical relation with others, and who employ argumentation for the purpose of the dialogical relation. With the multimodality of dialogue, this approach expands argumentation into another level of physicality of thinking, reasoning, and problem solving in classrooms. By using empirical data from elementary classrooms, this book explains how argumentation emerges and develops in and from classroom interactions by focusing on thinking and reasoning through/in relations with others and the learning environment.

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Mijung Kim is an associate professor of science education at the University of Alberta. She has published several journal articles and books on inquiry-based teaching, science curriculum and research, including Issues and Challenges in Science Education Research (Springer, 2012) and East-Asian Primary Science Curricula (Springer, 2017).
Wolff-Michael Roth is Lansdowne Professor of Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Victoria, Canada. He has published over 60 books and nearly 500 peer-reviewed journal articles. He was awarded many outstanding research awards and received an honorary doctorate (University of Ioannina, Greece).
List of Figures and Tables

1 Argumentation Research in Science Education
 Toulmin Argument Patterns
 Dialogue and Presumptive Argumentation
 Scientific Reasoning through Argumentation

2 Vygotsky’s Spinozist Perspectives on Language
 The Real Life of Language
 From Meaning to Sense
 The Sense-giving Contexture
 The Lived World Indicated by the Sign
 The System of Signs
 Sign-use as an Expressive Act
 Sign-use as a Communicative Act
 The Communicative Act as Soliciting a Behavior
 The In-order-to Motive and the Now, Here, and Thus of the Communicative Act

3 Children’s Reasoning and Problem Solving
 The Complexity of Young Children’s Reasoning
 What is Evidence?
 Evidence in Nested Sense-giving Contexture

4 Argumentation as Joint Action
 The Social Nature of the Word
 Argumentation and Emergence
 Laying the Garden Path in Walking
 Individualizing Collective Claims and Evidence
 Resolution of Contradictions and Emergence of New Trouble
 The Social Nature of Argumentation

5 The Role of Physical Objects in Science Lessons
 The Commonness and Difference of Physical Objects
 Abstraction: What is Happening in the Real Event?
 Physical Objects that Contribute to the Making of Sense
 Learning with Physical Objects

6 Argumentation and Inscriptions
 A Lesson Fragment
 From Explaining an Observation to Warranting a Claim
 Inscriptions in the Establishment of a Warrant
 Opportunities Arising from Working on the Chalkboard

7 Argumentation and the Thinking Body
 Position and Disposition
 Thinking and Speech
 Unity/Identity of Body and Mind
 On Overcoming the Psychophysical Problem

8 Teaching Argumentation in Elementary Science
 Attending to the Physicality of Argumentation
 Pointing and Formulating
 Being a Member of a Problem-Solving Community

All interested in children’s reasoning and argumentation and classroom dialogues in science classrooms including graduate students, educators and researchers in and for elementary science education and teacher education.