Role of the teacher:
According to collective argumentation model by Brown and Renshaw (2000) the skills of representation, comparison, explanation, justification, agreement and validation are to be used in co-ordinating the phases of their interaction in small groups. The use of these strategies is realized in small group situations in which the teacher first guides the students in sharing their personal views on interpretation of the problem or task in question. This is followed by comparing, explaining and justifying various perspectives in small groups, by establishing a joint agreement, and then by presenting the group’s joint representation to the whole class for validation. The teacher’s participation in the interactions of the small groups includes allocating management of the problem-solving process to the group, reminding the students about the norms of participation, supporting the development of conjectures and refutations, modeling ways of constructing arguments and the use of appropriate domain-specific language, encouraging the class to engage in the evaluation of co-constructed arguments or perspectives, and providing strategies for dealing with interpersonal conflicts.
Wells (1999) narrated that no classroom interaction takes place in a vacuum. Rather, it is embedded in the socio-cultural context of an activity, shaped by its practices and participants -both the teacher and students- across time. In teacher-student interaction, it is often the teacher who controls the content on interaction and the distribution of speaking turns. The nature of teacher’s facilitation of classroom interaction demonstrates that the interpretative authority of ideas and solutions was distributed in the classroom. Here, all members of the classroom community were responsible for negotiating and evaluating the processes and outcomes of joint problem solving. In fact, it appeared that argumentation and intellectual collaboration were seen as more important than the solution to a problem. The teacher participated as a legitimate member in this process by sensitively calibrating his level of participation from an active listener to that a guiding tutor. The collective mode of teacher participation reflects the teacher’s support of equal participation in joint inquiry as well as tolerance toward different opinion and perspectives.
Wells (1999) further described that in addition to ensuring the student’s equal participation in classroom interaction, the teacher’s collective mode of participation appeared to work as an important tool for promoting the student’s view of themselves as legitimate members of the learning community. Another means that seemed to play an important role in community building and scaffolding the student’s reasoning processes was the teacher’s appreciative mode of participation. In this participation the teacher signaled to the classroom community that he/she also felt that he/she could learn from the ongoing discourse. By doing...