SciTalk - Natural Science in Everyday Conversations in Preservice Teacher’s Education

Project owner

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Project period

September 2018 - August 2021

Funding sources

Erasmus+

Total budget

Project summary

The focus of the proposed project is science in everyday conversations, or natural science talk (SciTalk), among preservice teachers (which is the concept used for all kinds of pupils and students educating for pedagogical work in pre-primary and primary schools in the partner countries; acronym PSTs), and teachers and children (3-9 years old) in pre-primary and primary schools (shorted to schools). Everyday conversations are often used by teachers to instruct and are organized in Initiative-Response-Evaluation (IRE) structures. The result is that the children’s thoughts and opinions are mostly ignored. Thereby the teachers also miss out the knowledge and epistemic position of the children with regard to science. To change this culture in school, the PST’s skills and competence to use Initiative-Response-Follow-up (IRF) must be increased. In this kind of explorative conversation, the child’s opinion is central to the PST, and he or she has to listen to the child to follow the child’s thoughts.  This might be challenging for the PST, as children might see connections in science, which are unexpected for the PSTs, and the children may ask questions where the PSTs do not have the answers. The oral conversations in school is one of the key components in the curriculum, especially with smaller and thus pre-literate children. Increased competence and skills in IRF for upcoming teachers will increase the quality of the conversations in school and foster employability, socio-educational and effective and efficient higher education systems. 
As sectors at different levels join the project, the most important competences related to teaching children are present. The sectors are higher education, which are both one university and two universities of applied sciences, upper secondary school and schools for children (3-9 years old).