27 SES 08 B, Textual Resources for Fostering Students' Argumentation and Knowledge Construction
The study presented is the result of an intervention study, focusing the learning effects of reading instruction for ninth grade students within the Swedish school system. The instruction primarily targets reading comprehension and interpretation of argumentative texts; in order to stimulate the readers’ active thinking, their conscious and strategic interaction with texts and, especially, their capability for critical reflection on the claims and arguments of argumentative texts, a model was designed. This model, based on comprehension strategy instruction, conventional argumentative analysis and elaborated writing assignments, emanates from research-designed models such as Reciprocal Teaching (Palinscar & Brown, 1984) and Transactional Strategy Instruction (Pressley et al., 1992) with dialogical theory adapted for reading instruction (Nystrand et al., 1997, Soter et al., 2008). In the project it is related to as Dialogic Strategy Instruction (DSI).
The Swedish curriculum (Skolverket 2011) stresses the importance of being critical and independent when reading and using texts. Students are encouraged to go into dialogue with different kinds of texts and argue for their standpoints. After having left compulsory school, at 15, they should be able to produce argumentative texts and evaluate arguments in texts they have not written themselves.
The teaching of argumentation emanates from classical-rhetorical theories that have had an influence on western culture for more than 2000 years (Fafner 1995). At a time when multi-modal texts – including new intricate ways to convey messages – have an impact on students' everyday lives this is problematic. Students may have difficulties to see the connection between the model for analyzing argumentative texts taught at school and text structured differently, surrounding them, outside school. Also, for students who do not have Swedish as their mother tongue, and a non-European background, the classically-rhetorically based model of argumentation analysis may not be easy to grasp and use. Thus, the purpose of the study is to deepen the discussion on what students define as arguments in different kinds of texts (including multimodal texts), and to discuss why students define arguments as they do when interpreting texts. An aim of the study is also to examine what effects structured teaching on argumentative analysis has on the students.
Research on students' evaluation of arguments is neglected, as well as research on the effects of the teaching of argumentative analysis. However, researchers have paid attention on rhetorics and argumentative analysis (Hellspong 2004; Johannesson 2008 ; Sigrell 2008 ; Kjeldsen 2008), which have inspired to ideas on how rhetoric can be used when teaching oral presentations (Penne & Hertzberg 2008; Olsson Jers 2012; Glenn et al. 2004). It is also a fact that students’ and teachers’ work with fiction (Olin-Scheller & Tengberg 2013; Tengberg & Olin-Scheller 2013) have been studied to a greater extent than work in schools with non-fiction as a starting point; praxis oriented research on work with non-fiction is hard to find. The closest, both in Sweden and internationally, is research focusing on deliberative discourse and its importance for the development of critical literacy (Englund 2000; Janks 2010), in other words research enhancing the importance of problematization of the national curriculum and the use of texts at school (Lankshear & McLaren 1993; Apple 1999; Lyngfelt 2006). It thus makes sense to ask the following research questions:
1. What do students define as arguments in different kinds of (argumentative) texts, including multimodal texts? How do they relate their arguments to the claims of the texts, and on what premises do they make evaluations of the arguments?
2. In what way does the empirical material from the interviews reveal knowledge of the effects of the intervention?
Apple, M. W. (1999). Power, Meaning and Identity. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. Englund, T. (2000). Deliberativa samtal som värdegrund. Historiska och aktuella perspektiv. Stockholm: Skolverket. Glenn, C. G, Lyday M. M. & Sharer, W. B. (2004) (ed.), Rhetorical Education in America. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Hellspong, L. (2004). Konsten att tala. Handbok i praktisk retorik. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Janks, H. (2010). Literacy and Power. London: Routledge. Johannesson, K. (2008). Retorik eller konsten att övertyga. Stockholm: Norstedt. Kjeldsen, J. E. & Torhell, S.-E., (2008). Retorik idag. Introduktion till modern retorikteori. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Lankshear, C. & McLaren, P. (1993). Critical Literacy. Politics, Praxis and the Postmodern. New York: State University of New York Press. Lyngfelt, A. (2006). ”Skönlitterära texter som pedagogisk fostran. Om skönlitterära texter i läromedel, med critical literacy-begreppet som utgångspunkt”. I: Ellvin, M. (ed.). Ord och bild ger mening. Om literacy i förskola och skola. Stockholm: Svensklärarföreningens årsskrift. Nystrand, M., Gamoran, A., Kachur, R. & Prendergast, C. (1997). Opening Dialogue: Understanding the Dynamics of Language and Learning in the English Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press. Olin-Scheller, C. & Tengberg, M. (2013). ”Att lära sig läsa mellan raderna. En komparationsstudie av två olika undervisningsmodeller”. I: Årheim, A. (ed). Resor i tid och rum. Festskrift till Margareta Petterson. Göteborg: Makadam förlag, s. 303-314. Olsson Jers, C. (2012), Klassrummet som muntlig arena. Att tala fram sin trovärdighet. Stockholm: Liber. Palinscar, A.S. & Brown, A.L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1 (2), 117–175. Penne, S. & Hertzberg, F. (2008). Muntlige tekster i klasserommet. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Pressley, M., El-Dinary, P.B., Gaskins, I., Schuder, T., Bergman, J., Almasi, J., et al. (1992). Beyond direct explanation: Transactional instruction of reading comprehension strategies. The Elementary School Journal, 92, 513–555. Sigrell, A. (2008). Retorik för lärare. Konsten att välja språk konstruktivt. Åstorp: Retorikförlaget. Skolverket (2011). Läroplaner för grundskolan. Available at: www.skolverket.se Soter A., Wilkinson, I., Murphy, K., Rudge, L., Reninger, K. & Edwards, M. (2008). “What the Discourse Tells Us: Talk and Indicators of High-Level Comprehension.” International Journal of Educational Research, 47, 372−391. Tengberg M. & Olin-Scheller C. (2013). “Improving Reading and Interpretation in 7th Grade. A Comparative Study of the Effects of Two Different Models for Reading Instruction”. Education Inquriy, 6 December 2013, s. 689-713. Available at: http://www.educationinquiry.net/index.php/edui/article/view/23221/31264
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