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How Teachers Respond to Children's Inquiry

Susan Engel and Kellie Randall
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 2009), pp. 183-202
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27667176
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
How Teachers Respond to Children's Inquiry
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Abstract

This study examined how teachers respond when children engage in inquiry-based deviations from a planned task. Thirty-one teachers each completed a brief science activity and accompanying worksheet with a student confederate. Teachers were given one of two goals for the study: help the students complete a worksheet or help the students learn more about science. The instructions had a significant effect on the teachers' responses to students' deviations. Teachers in the worksheet condition tended to discourage deviation and draw the students back to the task at hand, whereas teachers in the learn more condition were more likely to encourage and expand on the deviation. Apart from their responses to students' deviations, nearly all teachers were classified as encouraging, suggesting that an articulated goal for the activity has a particular effect on the response to deviations. Implications for the role of teachers in the development of children's curiosity are considered.

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