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A framework for describing and tracking the whole-class discussion-based teaching strategies used by a teacher to support students' construction and development of explanatory models for concepts in circuit electricity is described. A new type of diagram developed to portray teacher-student discourse patterns facilitated the identification of two distinct types, or levels, of teaching strategies: 1) those that support dialogical or conversational elements of classroom interaction; and 2) those that support cognitive model construction processes. The latter include the higher-level goals of promoting a cycle of Observation, model Generation, model Evaluation, and model Modification. While previous studies have focused primarily on the dialogical strategies that are essential for fostering communication as an enabling condition, the cognitive strategies identified herein are aimed at fostering conceptual model construction.
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