"What about Burning Rubbish?": Exploring the Nature and Purposes of Talk in Primary Science Classrooms in Indonesia

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Munasprianto Ramli


This thesis investigates the development of students' scientific literacy and other skills during classroom talk. The focus is on nature and purposes of classroom talk in primary science lessons that have implemented the new curriculum, often known as Curriculum 2013 in Indonesia. The reason for exploring the topic is that in comparison to the previous curriculum, in which teachers dominate science lessons, the implementation of the new curriculum, as mentioned in the teacher's guidebook, will provide more room for talk to take place in the primary science classroom. The sociocultural perspective is used as the theoretical framework for this study. Vygotsky's ideas are used to explore how talk as a tool of social interaction could develop students' scientific literacy and skills within their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). In addition, the extent to which the authoritative and dialogic dimension appears in classroom interaction was also explored using the Bakhtin's Dialogic Principle. An exploratory case study approach was utilised for this research. The study was carried out in year four of two primary schools in greater Jakarta. The science lessons in these two classrooms were observed over the period of one semester. The whole class talk and talk between students that took place during the target lesson were recorded using video, audio recorder and field notes. Other data gathered include three interviews with teacher and students and analysis of students' work in their workbook. The data were then analysed using sociocultural discourse analysis. The findings indicate that teachers dominate classroom talk even though the teacher and students share an equal amount of turns in talking. The pattern of classroom talk adopted traditional triadic movement (Initiation Response Feedback/IRF) in which the authoritative discourse mostly took place, and an alternative pattern (chain of I-R-F-R-F) was adopted during dialogic discourse that occurs when teachers attempt to take into account students' ideas. In investigating the purposes of classroom talk the case studies demonstrated that classroom talk is a constructive tool which helps students develop their skills and knowledge. Students were shown to develop the four domains of scientific literacy (context, knowledge, competencies and attitudes) through talk in group work and during the entire class discussion. The findings show that classroom talk helped students to internalize the ideas discussed and assisted articulating their ideas about science in the everyday life. By interacting with teachers and peers, students were able to master science content and develop their potential, which may not be achieved if they learn individually. The thesis concludes with the implications for the development of teaching practices that promote classroom talk in science education.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2018