UNDERSTANDING THE DYNAMICS OF TEACHER ATTENTION: CASE STUDIES OF HOW HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ATTEND TO STUDENT IDEAS
Publication or External Link
Attending to student ideas is critical for supporting students' science learning (Driver, Guesne, & Tiberghien, 1985; National Research Council, 1996). But, paying attention to student ideas in science class is difficult and does not happen often (Davis, 2001; Feldman, 2002; Levin, 2008; Levitt, 2001; Simmons, et al, 1999). Researchers have looked at how institutional expectations, curricular materials, and a teacher's cognition influence how that teacher picks up on and makes sense of student ideas (Ainley & Luntley, 2007; Levin, 2008; Rop, 2002; Tabak & Reiser, 1999; Wallach & Even, 2005). I argue that we do not yet have adequate ways of characterizing and understanding teachers' attention at the level of the interaction. I have evidence that suggests that when we look in such a fine-grained way, many of our current explanations for what teachers do and pay attention to are not sufficient. The aim of this dissertation is to build on the burgeoning body of work on teacher attention by looking at how to characterize a teacher's attention as that teacher interacts with students in the classroom and studying how a teacher's attention is situated in the teacher's framing of his or her interaction with students. In short, a person's frame or framing of the situation is his or her definition of what is going on in the interaction (Tannen, 1993). I discuss the implications for how we can support teachers' attention to student ideas and some areas for future research motivated by the findings of this study.