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The Dynamics of Students' Behaviors and Reasoning during Collaborative Physics Tutorial Sessions Documents

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The Dynamics of Students' Behaviors and Reasoning during Collaborative Physics Tutorial Sessions 

written by Luke Conlin, Ayush Gupta, Rachel E. Scherr, and David Hammer

We investigate the dynamics of student behaviors (posture, gesture, vocal register, visual focus) and the substance of their reasoning during collaborative work on inquiry-based physics tutorials. Scherr has characterized student activity during tutorials as observable clusters of behaviors separated by sharp transitions, and has argued that these behavioral modes reflect students' epistemological framing of what they are doing, i.e., their sense of what is taking place with respect to knowledge. We analyze students' verbal reasoning during several tutorial sessions using the framework of Russ, and find a strong correlation between certain behavioral modes and the scientific quality of students' explanations. We suggest that this is due to a dynamic coupling of how students behave, how they frame an activity, and how they reason during that activity. This analysis supports the earlier claims of a dynamic between behavior and epistemology. We discuss implications for research and instruction.

Published November 12, 2007
Last Modified December 1, 2010

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