Can ChatGPT Help Pre-Service Teachers Analyze Classroom Discourse? Critical Reflections from a Science Methods Course

by Jacob Pleasants, University of Oklahoma
Abstract

Leading productive classroom conversations is an essential part of a science teacher's pedagogical practice, but also difficult to do well. Novice science teachers find it challenging to direct conversations that progress students’ conceptual understanding while engaging them in scientific practices. They need to engage in deliberate, reflective practice to improve their discourse practices and sustain that deliberate work as they continue to develop their pedagogy. In my secondary science methods course, I work to build my students’ reflective practice by having them analyze transcripts of science instruction. I have used several scaffolding tools and frameworks to support them in that work, but a novel option is using a language model such as ChatGPT to assist with the analysis. In this article, I describe how I incorporated ChatGPT into a sequence of discourse-focused learning activities. My students explored and critiqued the capabilities of ChatGPT as a discourse analyst, and here I share our collective appraisals and insights into how to use it most effectively. I also share the ways in which I saw my students’ reflective and analytical practices develop over time.