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Title: Roles of teachers in orchestrating learning in elementary science classrooms
Authors: Zhai, Junqing
Tan, Aik-Ling
Keywords: Scientific inquiry
Teacher role
Classroom discourse
Elementary science
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Zhai, J., & Tan, A. L. (2015). Roles of teachers in orchestrating learning in elementary science classrooms. Research in Science Education, 45(6), 907-926.
Abstract: This study delves into the different roles that elementary science teachers play in the classroom to orchestrate science learning opportunities for students. Examining the classroom practices of three elementary science teachers in Singapore, we found that teachers shuttle between four key roles in enabling students learning in science. Teachers can play the role of (1) dispenser of knowledge (Giver), (2) mentor of learning (Advisor), (3) monitor of students’ activities (Police), and (4) partner in inquiry (Co-learner). These roles are dynamic and while teachers show a preference to one of the four roles, factors such as the nature of the task, the types of students as well as the availability of time and resources affect the role that teachers adopt. The roles that teachers play in the classroom have implications for the practice of science as inquiry in the classroom as well as the identities that teachers and students form in the science learning process.
Description: This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Research in Science Education. The published version is available online at
ISSN: 0157-244X (print)
1573-1898 (online)
Other Identifiers: 10.1007/s11165-014-9451-9
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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