24 SES 05, Testing the Viability of Multiple Analytical Frames Applied to the Detailed Data Generated in a Laboratory Classroom
In this international collaborative project, researchers from Australia, Spain, and Finland have undertaken parallel, complementary analyses of a shared dataset to investigate learning as a social phenomenon and how it occurs in the mathematics classroom. This research addresses theoretical issues at the heart of international attempts to model learning as a socially enacted process. This symposium will report on the analytical approaches employed and the associated methodological insights gained from implementing the multitheoretic research design.
Data were collected using a laboratory classroom in Australia equipped with 10 built-in video cameras and up to 32 audio channels. Intact classes of 7th grade students (12-13 years old) with their usual mathematics teacher were filmed in the laboratory classroom completing a sequence of mathematics tasks. The research design created situations requiring individual, dyadic, and small group (4-6 students) problem solving in mathematics and documented the social interactions and associated learning. The use of intact classes of students with their usual teacher was intended to preserve existing social norms and achieve a balance between experimental control and authenticity.
The availability of the laboratory classroom provided the international research team with the capacity to document instructional stimuli and to analyse the learning responses for every student in the class at a level of detail not previously possible in authentic classroom settings. A multitheoretic research design was employed utilising expertise and theoretical perspectives specific to the participating international researchers to undertake parallel analyses of the shared dataset. The contributory analyses include an investigation of student dialogic exchange, students’ repertoires in participation, and students’ motivating desires.
This symposium situates the project theoretically and methodologically and reports three distinct analytical approaches and their implications to catalyse useful discussion concerning those aspects of the learning process that are fundamentally and essentially social. The symposium will open with a paper concerning the importance of careful selection of the units of analysis in multitheoretic research designs. Three parallel analyses undertaken by researchers in Spain and Finland are then reported.
Specifically, the first presentation (Paper 1) introduces and frames the three following presentations by discussing the decision-making process involved in the choice of the unit of analysis for each of the parallel analyses undertaken in the project. These choices have consequences where different analyses of the same situation employ different units of analysis. The second presentation (Paper 2) examines the student-student dialogue in terms of argumentation, dialogic learning, and illocutionary force; and reports on the application of an analytical instrument that combines all three. Presentation 3 (Paper 3) explores the meaning construction process of students during collaborative problem solving in relation to their repertoire of participation. The paper examines to what extent (and in what way) is the range or repertoire of scripts that students draw on within an activity setting indicative of the meaning of the task for the students. Paper 4 investigates the structure of motivating desires by examining the evidence of participation and identification processes in the video data.
Each paper addresses (either explicitly or by implication) a methodological issue central to classroom research: Unit of analysis; the combination of analytical perspectives; and the challenge of interpreting or attributing meaning; and the correspondence between theoretical constructs and their operationalisation. As our research tools develop in technical sophistication, we must ensure that we continue to attend to the underlying methodological implications (both affordances and constraints) offered by contemporary research facilities and resources.
It is anticipated that the combination of perspectives presented from this international collaborative project will stimulate lively discussion of their interrelationship and collectively inform research attempts to understand (and optimise) student collaborative mathematical problem solving and learning.
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