Research Questions

The following questions guide our investigations about the important role of discourse competencies, their deployment and situated development in interaction of 4 to 8 year old children:

  • How do children clash and interrelate their spontaneous concepts in the jointly constructed discourse-in-interaction when trying to discuss personal points of view with their mates or the teacher?
  • Which resources, in terms of interactional coordination and construction, enable children first of all to generate dialogically rooted, multifaceted and inter-subjective discourses on scientific phenomena? By definition, these instances of inquiring on behalf of discursive science learning are by far richer and multi-modally complex than the “written scientific text” which still prevails in school’s ways of talking about science, deepening (rather than closing) the gap between the individual learner, her competencies at hand and her potentials for developing further. Special attention is paid to the deployment of plurilingual resources, their functioning within organizing discourse-in-interaction and general language development.
  • Do children display meta-conceptual understanding of knowledge construction processes within their discourse, i.e. they are not only building, evaluating or transforming theories, but are aware of the process of building, supporting and changing complex systems of interrelated concepts?
  • To what extent do multimodal discourses (speech, gestures, visualizations), stemming from other but related domains a) from school and b) from outside the schooling (e.g., medial) context, hinder or facilitate changes in understanding (knowing and reasoning) of physical phenomena of the world and vice versa?