Ginsburg: Not a Cookbook: Guidelines for Conducting a Clinical Interview
In this reading, Ginsburg outlines basic procedures and thought processes that one should consider when conducting a clinical interview. Interviewers must act “clinically” by creatively use a general structure of guidelines and applying them adaptively to a child’s unique personality and thought processes. The interviewer must further acknowledge that the children that they interview are autonomous thinkers—the students are making genuine attempts to explain their knowledge of a concept based on their experience. Interviewers must also have a goal of what to look for, which can be based on age-appropriate norms, the interviewer’s pre-established protocol, and specific tasks that target a student’s thought-process. Furthermore, establishing a positive rapport with the student can help the student feel more comfortable and open to expressing their opinions.
- Child as Expert: By treating the child as the expert thinker in the situation, one can help them feel confident enough to express their though process.
- Interview as Dialogue: Interviews should be conversation-based in order to seek justifications of students’ problem-solving strategies and tap into student’s procedural knowledge.
- Openness: An interviewer should avoid leading questions and expect “diff-understandings;” this can allow the student to respond more honestly and openly to an interviewer’s questions.
Greeno and Hall: Practicing Representation: Learning with and About Representational Forms
Greeno and Hall posit that each student should be exposed to a variety of representations (or required exercises) in the science classroom. They stress the importance of situative practice, in which students learn through participation. With this situative technique, students will work with a wide range of representations to learn firsthand what types of representations work the best in different problem-based scenarios. These representations allow students to organize information, participate in the epistemic culture of science, and interpret data to make sense of how various representations can model the concepts that lie at the heart of problem-based learning. Ultimately, students will be able to make their own representations, which provides the students with the opportunity to participate in the decoding of information and gain a deeper understanding of problem-solving techniques.
Russ and Sherin: Using Interviews to Explore Student Ideas in Science
The authors here suggest that by being aware of what the students already know about a topic, teachers can guide future instruction and activity in the classroom. One way to obtain this information is through a “student-thinking interview,” which teachers can carry out with their students. The general strategy for conducting these interviews follows the structure of contextualizing the concept, probing a student’s answers to your questions, and seeding a different way of understanding a concept. Russ and Sherin also stress that these interviews should be treated as formative assessments, which are designed to help the teacher determine how to teach off of the students’ prior knowledge rather than looking for “correct” answers.
- Objectivity: By keeping a non-biased attitude towards student responses, a teacher can learn more about a student’s previous knowledge and thought processes.
Overall, these articles emphasize the various ways in which teachers can learn more about their students’ thought processes, prior knowledge, and conceptual understanding. Ginsburg and Russ & Sherin emphasize the role of interviewing to access a student’s naïve conceptual and procedural knowledge, while Greeno & Hall help illustrate how the use of various modes of representation and model building can help teachers observe how their students are work through and interpret scientific problems. While the authors definitely have me convinced about the benefits and efficacy of these methods, I wonder how a teacher can routinely use interviews in a classroom. Is there a way to interview students on an individual or group basis while still maintaining effective classroom management for the students that are not being interviewed?