10 SES 08 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
It is widely acknowledged the value and the potential of using a sociocultural and dialogic approach in teaching and learning worldwide (Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000; Mercer & Howe, 2012). Dialogic-based pedagogies have been gradually developed and implemented in schools for the past four decades (Alexander, 2008; Flecha, 2000; Howe & Abedin, 2013), but its potential in initial teacher training programs has been underestimated (Simpson, 2016). One of these discussion-based pedagogical strategies that have been successful in engaging participants in personal and social transformations are the “Dialogic Gatherings” (Soler, 2015).
Dialogic Gatherings are a whole group activity where participants share knowledge and make meaning of the same text on the basis of the principle of egalitarian dialogue, which underpins the functioning of the activity. This implies that everyone contributes their views with arguments, in an egalitarian space and hold an attitude of openness to listening others and reducing the hierarchical approaches to teaching and learning (Llopis, Villarejo, Soler, & Alvarez, 2016; Soler, 2004). Positive effects of dialogic gatherings in schools have been widely reported, including improvements in literacy skills and prosocial behaviour (Villardón-Gallego et al., 2018).
Research conducted in elementary schools (Hargreaves & García-Carrión, 2016) showed the potential of Dialogic Gatherings to create the space for children to draw on their ‘funds of knowledge’ from home and community (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992). The concept of funds of knowledge, originally coined by Moll and colleagues (1992) refer to the knowledge, skills, and experiences acquired through historical and cultural interactions of an individual in their community and family life and culture through everyday living. They have shown that integrating funds of knowledge into classroom activities creates a richer and more-highly scaffolded learning experience for students. Teachers’ funds of knowledge have been showed to play a crucial role in their future teaching (Yee, Greenhough, Hughes and Winter, 2005). This paper aims at exploring in the potential of using Dialogic Gatherings in initial teacher training and, in particular, the role that students’ funds of knowledge to become a teacher. The research questions of this paper are:
1. How are the pre-service teachers’ Funds of Knowledge incorporated into the dialogue during the Dialogic Gatherings?
2. In which ways, if any, pre-service teachers’ Funds of Knowledge relate to their identity as a teachers?
This contribution is part of a wider study that involves a total of 150 Master students of three Spanish universities, in which identity formation was deeper explored with a pre-post test. An in-depth analysis of the dialogues and interaction among teacher students when discussing “Letters to those who dare to teach” (Freire, 2005) will allow us to unveil the potential of dialogic gatherings in initial teacher training.
This intervention study was conducted in a private university in the Basque Country with students of higher education enrolled in a Masters of Teacher Training. For this particular paper, we explored in depth the discourse of one of the groups formed by formed by 14 students. Data collection was conducted in three phases. In the first phase students did a writing task reflecting on their individual understanding about what means to be a good teacher. Afterwards, they were introduced to the dialogic gatherings and read the book “Letters to those who dare to teach” (Freire, 2005) in the Spanish version. Six sessions lasting approximately 60 minutes each (M=52’54’’) were observed, audio-recorded and transcribed for an inductive analysis. At the end of the intervention, the students were asked to perform the same writing task and focus group with six students was conducted to collect their views and perceptions about the experience. Conventional content analysis of the data was conducted to identify emerging codes informed by the theory of ‘funds of knowledge’, later contrasted and refined by the researchers. Three months later, a communicative validation analysis was conducted in a second-round focus group to contrast our results that show the emergence of identity-related discussions.
The preliminary analysis revealed that Dialogic Gatherings are identified by participants as dialogue-based spaces which elicit the connection between their Funds of Knowledge and the process of constructing their identities as future teachers. In that interactive atmosphere, student teachers agree that the Dialogic Gathering is one of the pedagogical strategies in which they have critically reflect on what means to become a teacher. As they narrated, the possibility of sharing their personal experiences as students while discussing the most important theoretical contributions in the field of education offers an ideal chance to start the complex process of constructing their professional identity. In addition, as the sessions went on, the participants connected the content of the reading with their FoK, which are constituted by previous discussions emerging in debates held previously and with academic content learned in other subjects. Those 14 master students, through egalitarian interactions, had shared the experiences they freely chose to in a way that allowed them to reach a common agreement on the relationship between humility, coherence, critical capacity, empathic/ tolerance, passion and commitment to teaching, which are the essential characteristics in the ideal teacher. This way, participants’ FoKs get expanded and enriched, including the voices of others in their minds, making their FoKs more comprehensive and inclusive, what has an impact in their identity horizons as teachers Moreover, participants manifested they want to integrate all those features in their identity as teachers. By opening a debate/ reporting situations experienced as students, they agreed that without these characteristics the democratic education loses its meaning. In conclusion, sharing FoK in a dialogue-based space contributes to enhancing the formation of educators with a clear commitment with democratic education. They are offering pre-service teachers the abilities to get through the multiple challenges of the era of risk, which has as a priority to guarantee the educational success of all.
Alexander, R. (2008). Towards dialogic teaching: Rethinking classroom talk (4th ed.). York: Dialogos. Andrews, J., Ching-Yee, W., Greenhough, P., Hugh, M., Winter, J. (2005). Teachers ’ Funds of knowledge and the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics in Multi-Ethnic Primary Schools : Two Teachers ’ Views of Linking Home and School. ZDM - Mathematics Education, 37(2), 72–80. Flecha, R. (2000). Sharing Words: Theory and Practice of Dialogic Learning. Critical Perspectives Series. 6&site=ehost-live&scope=site Freire, P. (1997). Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare to teach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press Hargreaves, L., & García-Carrión, R. (2016). Toppling Teacher Domination of Primary Classroom Talk through Dialogic Literary Gatherings in England. FORUM: For Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education, 58(1), 15–25. Howe, C., & Abedin, M. (2013). Classroom dialogue: a systematic review across four decades of research. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(3), 325. Lee, C. D., & Smagorinsky, P. (2000). Vygotskian perspectives on literacy research : constructing meaning through collaborative inquiry. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.es/books/about/Vygotskian_Perspectives_on_Literacy Llopis, A., Villarejo, B., Soler, M., & Alvarez, P. (2016). (Im)Politeness and interactions in Dialogic Literary Gatherings. Journal of Pragmatics, 94, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.PRAGMA.2016.01.004 Mercer, N., & Howe, C. (2012). Explaining the dialogic processes of teaching and learning: The value and potential of sociocultural theory. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 1(1), 12–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.LCSI.2012.03.001 Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(1), 132–41. Simpson, A. (2016). Dialogic teaching in the initial teacher education classroom: “Everyone’s Voice will be Heard”. Research Papers in Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2016.1106697 Soler, M. (2015). Biographies of “Invisible” People Who Transform Their Lives and Enhance Social Transformations Through Dialogic Gatherings. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(10), 839–842. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800415614032 Villardón-Gallego, L., García-Carrión, R., Yáñez-Marquina, L. & Estévez, A. (2018). Impact of the Interactive Learning Environments in Children’s Prosocial Behavior. Sustainability, 10(7), 2138. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072138
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