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This study was designed to understand lectures in a redesigned physics course for prospective elementary teachers. Our understanding was based on videotaped lectures and interviews with students and the professor. We show that the lectures can be understood as a rhetorical move. The professor staged Aristotle, natural philosophy, and students' observations and intuitive knowledge in opposition to Galileo, controlled (stacked) experiment, and mathematical inscriptions in the form of numbers, plotted data pairs, and curves. We conclude that this form of instructional delivery does not help students to become proficient in physics discourse, and offer alternatives that would facilitate students' construction and appropriation of physics discourse.
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