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PERC 2015 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: The use of epistemic distancing to create a safe space to sensemake in physics tutorials
Abstract: In active engagement physics classrooms, such as the Tutorials in Physics Sensemaking, students get opportunities to make sense of physics together.  They do not always take up these opportunities, in part because of the risk of sharing their ideas and having them rejected by their classmates or the instructors.  We analyze video of three tutorial groups to investigate how students manage these risks in creating a safe space to sensemake.  We find that the students and instructors alike rely on a common discursive resource – epistemic distancing – to share their ideas while protecting themselves affectively if others disagree.  Epistemic distancing includes hedging, joking, deferring, and other discourse moves used to soften one's stance in conversation.  We use video analysis to illustrate the effects of these moves on tutorial groups' sensemaking discussions, and discuss implications for instructors wishing to encourage sensemaking discussions in their physics classrooms.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Luke D. Conlin
Stanford University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Rachel E. Scherr, Seattle Pacific University