“It’s the magic circle”! using cogenerative dialogues to create a safe environment to address emotional conflicts in a project-based learning science internship

  • Pei-Ling HsuEmail author
Original Paper


Research is urgently needed to learn how to improve the emotional climate of science learning by ameliorating excesses of negative emotions, which may lead to students dropping out of school, teachers burning out, and health problems for both groups. This is especially true when teachers and students are situated in highly challenging environments such as project-based learning (PBL) practice. PBL is regarded as an effective way to engage students meaningfully in science learning. However, emotional dissonance between teachers and students can arise because of many challenges in PBL (e.g., difficulty of assessing learning, uncertainty about teacher and student roles). In this study, we investigated how cogenerative dialogues (cogens) served as a pedagogical tool to address emotional issues in a PBL science internship. Data sources included 210 h of video-recorded internship and cogen sessions conducted with one laboratory team. Drawing on polyvagal theory and event-oriented inquiry, this case study shows how educators used cogens as a tool to transform the emotional climate in an internship through respectful communication emphasizing equality, thereby increasing reciprocity, equality, and synchronicity among teachers and students. The findings may help students and teachers regulate their expressions of emotion and enhance the quality of classroom interactions and learning environments.


Cogenerative dialogue Project-based learning Polyvagal theory Expressed emotion Event oriented inquiry Collaboration 


我們需要相關研究來幫助師生在教學中解決情緒問題。因為在教學中,負面的情緒可能造成學生輟學,教師筋疲力竭,或造成身心健康問題。尤其在高難度的專題式教學環境中。專題式教學可以引導學生從事有意義的學習活動,但也可能引發情緒相關問題因其高難度和學習中的不確定性。此論文討論 “共生對話”可以成為師生的解決情緒問體的一個方法。資料來源包含一個高中科學實習營的約210小時的活動和“共生對話”全程錄影。利用“多元迷走理論”和 “事件引導探究方法”,此論文討論由於“共生對話”中的互動性,平等性,同步性,“共生對話”可以作為一個解決溝通情緒問題的工具。此研究成果可以幫助師生共同增進溝通和調節情緒,進而達成有效教學的成果。



I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the Lead Editor, Dr. Kenneth Tobin, who has been instrumental and supportive in providing feedback and insights to improve the quality of the paper. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1322600. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teacher Education Department, College of EducationUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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