10 SES 11 B, Parallel Paper Session
The role of teacher-student talk in classrooms has been the topic of educational research for many decades leaving the area replete with, and theoretically governed by pre-theorised concepts about efficacy of classroom talk and how teachers should interact to the point where the actualities of practice are pre-fitted into concepts or ‘philosophies’ of how to teach (Freebody, 2003). Despite connections between teacher talk and student’s learning being well documented (Alexander, 2008; Barnes, 1976; Bellack, Kliebard, Hyman, & Smith, 1973; Brophy & Good, 1974; Edwards-Groves, 2002; Edwards, & Westgate, 1987; Heap, 1985; MacLure, & French, 1980; Mehan, 1979; Nystrand, 1997; Wells, 1981), there has been little impact on the interactive practices of teachers as classroom talk remains the province of the teacher (Fisher, 2010).
Developing dialogic pedagogies in classrooms as a core practice remain ‘taken-for-granted’ and under examined. In fact, it seems that explicit instruction, along with opportunities to ‘practise’ engaging in quality dialogue with students in classrooms, receives little dedicated space across subjects in teacher education courses, leading to a tendency for pre-service teachers to enact a default practice based on replicating known patterns of interaction of those observed and those experienced in their own education (Love, 2009). It is rarely the subject of overt and in-depth instruction in teacher education. This paper is an attempt to re-theorise the development of dialogic practice in education and to illustrate how the role of practising in contextually relevant sites is critical for bridging the theory-practice nexus. It is based on the premise that “to know about the role of dialogue and interaction for learning is simply not enough”, and argues for overt and in-depth instruction and designed-in opportunities for ‘classroom talk’ to be practiced in authentic ‘practice-sites’.
The paper is informed by a theory of ‘practice architectures’ offered by Kemmis and Grootenboer (2008), which are the cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political orders and arrangements that prefigure and shape the content and conduct of a practice, shaping the distinctive ‘sayings’, ‘doings’ and ‘relatings’ that occur in a particular kind of practice such as teaching. The project described seeks to address these three questions:
- How does a focus on classroom interaction influence the development of patterns, and understandings, of quality dialogue among pre-service teachers with students in classrooms?
- In what ways does working in small groups with student-peers and expert mentors engaging in ’mentoring conversations’ over time assist in the development of quality dialogue between pre-service-teachers and students in school settings?
- How does engaging in interactions with children in classrooms foster an understanding of the role of a teacher, in connection to classroom interaction, in children’s learning?
Results move teacher education towards viewing interaction practices as central to teacher developing in three ways: firstly, the interconnectedness of the cultural-discursive (sayings), material-economic (doings in physical space time) and social-political (relatings) orders and arrangements that hold teaching in place; secondly, the importance of understanding social and interactive nature of the classroom as a site for learning; and thirdly, the nature of dialogic pedagogy.
Alexander, R. (2008). Towards dialogic teaching: Rethinking classroom talk. Cambridge: Dialogos. Barnes, D. (1976). From communication to curriculum. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin. Bellack, A.A., Kliebard, H.M., Hyman, R.T. & Smith, J.R. (1973). The Language Of The Classroom. New York: Columbia University Press Brophy, J. E. & Good, T. L. (1974). Teacher-student relationships: Causes and consequences, NY: Holt Rinehart & Winston Edwards-Groves, C.J. (2002). Building an inclusive classroom through explicit pedagogy: A focus on the language of teaching. In M. Anstey & G. Bull (Eds.), Literacy Lexicon. Sydney: Prentice Hall, Australia Pty Ltd. Edwards, A., & Westgate, D. (1987). Investigating Classroom Talk. London: Falmer Press. Fisher, A.T. (2011). Creating an articulate classroom: examining preservice teachers’ experiences of talk, Language and Education, 25:1, 33-47 Heap, J.L. (1985). Discourse in the Production of Classroom Knowledge: Reading Lessons. Curriculum Inquiry. 15, 245-79 Kemmis, S., and P. Grootenboer. (2008). Situating praxis in practice: Practice architectures and the cultural, social and material conditions for practice. In Enabling praxis: Challenges for education, ed. S. Kemmis, and T.J. Smith, 37–64. Rotterdam: Sense. Love, K. (2009). Literacy pedagogical content knowledge in secondary teacher education: Reflecting on oral language and learning across the disciplines. Language and Education, 23, 6, 41–60. MacLure, M. & French, P. (1980). “Routes to right answers: on pupils’ strategies for answering teacher’s questions”, In P. Wood, (ed), Pupil Strategies, London: Crrom Helm Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Nystrand, M. (1997). Opening dialogue: understanding the dynamics of language and learning in the English classroom. New York: Teachers College Press. Timperley, H. (2001). Mentoring conversations designed to promote student teacher learning. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 29 (2). Wells, G. (1981). Learning through interaction: The study of language development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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