Many of the topics that students encounter in their study of science require them to navigate abstract and conceptually challenging ideas. Based on research of the discussion-leading practices of a group of experienced high school physics educators teaching the concept of circuit electricity, this paper presents a sampling of conversational strategies that are believed to go beyond previously identified dialogical tactics and support student reasoning at a higher cognitive model construction level. The paper utilizes examples from classroom discussion transcripts to describe the roles that these teaching strategies are hypothesized to play in students’ construction, evaluation, and revision of explanatory models for abstract scientific concepts. The article describes a seven-step process that introduces pre-service secondary science teachers to effective techniques for leading discussions.










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