Use of dialogue to scaffold students’ inquiry-based learning

  • Stein Dankert Kolstø University of Bergen
Keywords: inquiry-based science teaching, dialogue in science teaching, scaffolding, authentic use of language


This paper suggests a set of theoretical principles to guide teachers’ use of dialogue to scaffold students’ inquiry-based learning. To find out how teachers might make use of dialogue, six documents presenting instructional models of IBST are analysed. The document analysis and the identification of theoretical principles are guided by Dewey’s concept of a complete act of thought, Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism, and the concept of authenticity in use of language. All analysed documents suggest the use of dialog, but are only specified for certain phases of the inquiry process. Only three documents provide arguments for the relevance of dialogue using theories of language and learning. Two documents argue that language use that is personally meaningful to the individual is important for the learning process. The suggested theoretical principles includes six basic types of learning dialogues suitable for stimulating learners to enter different phases of reflective thinking needed to develop deep understanding.