Cultural dilemma for inquiry learning? Is Thai culture at Odds to Scientific Culture in Concern with Learning Inquiry?

Year: 2019

Author: Taptamat, Nantana

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Grounded in socio-cultural perspectives, this study aimed at exploring interplays of cultural influences, power relations, classroom participation and inquiry learning. The study analysed classroom discourse among students and teachers to investigate dynamics between Thai culture and school science culture. To attain an in-depth insight into interactions and conflicts between the Thai and scientific cultures, a qualitative methodology was adopted. The data were collected from two chemistry classrooms in two secondary schools in Thailand. Empirical data were gathered through video and audio taping, interviews, field observation, students’ written responses, and researcher’s journal. It was found that dominant discourse in teacher’s voices contributed to students’ behaviours in avoiding conflicts by controlling their communications, including not expressing their thoughts or expressing only on the teacher’s command. This verbal discourse appeared to be at odds with scientific culture and may not support a foundation of scientific argumentation in the classroom. The findings suggest that teachers’ discourses that were deemed to support a rich classroom discussion included when they applied dialogic discourse through informal language, questioning methods, and students’ engagement in unfamiliar learning tasks that they could not recall a solution by means of rote memory.