Valuing science: The role of language and body language in a health science lecture

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Journal Article
Journal of Pragmatics, 2019, 139 pp. 200 - 215
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Science is a discipline of academic study that orients us strongly to field; to knowledge of how phenomena are classified and composed, and how activities implicate other activities. A strong focus on knowledge building can obscure the fact that the learning of science is also about understanding the values that associate with that knowledge. To date the teaching and learning of values in science remains relatively under-explored, particularly from a linguistic perspective, and in the context of spoken pedagogic discourse. The research reported here constitutes a case study of a live undergraduate lecture in health science on the topic of urine formation. It draws on systemic functional linguistic (SFL) theory, with the aim to model tools for analysis and an exploratory process for identifying the nature and expression of scientific values in the lecturer's discourse. Importantly we consider expression in relation to the semiotic systems of language and body language, and are able to show how their inter-semiotic relations function to reinforce a recurring set of values in ways that make them more noticeable to students, with greater potential for recognition and affiliation.
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