Researching dialogic pedagogies for literacy learning across the primary years

Report


Edwards-Groves, Christine and Davidson, Christina. (2016). Researching dialogic pedagogies for literacy learning across the primary years Newtown, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).
AuthorsEdwards-Groves, Christine and Davidson, Christina
Abstract

The study “Researching Dialogic Pedagogies for Literacy Learning across the Primary Years” funded by The Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA), examines the practice of dialogic pedagogies as developed and enacted in classroom literacy lessons across the primary school grades. This report presents findings from the eight-month study investigating changing talk and interaction practices among teachers and students from 12 classrooms in 11 primary schools in the Riverina and SW Sydney regions of NSW, Australia. These distinct sites are geographically and demographically diverse. Teacher participants ranged in age (from 23 to 45) and teaching experience (from 1 to 25 years), and classes spanned the primary school spectrum (from Kindergarten to Year 6) forming a comprehensive coverage of primary education stages of learning.

The study employed critical participatory action research to assist teacher participants develop more dialogic approaches to pedagogical practice to support students in primary classrooms use oral language to acquire and communicate with clarity and a high degree of intellectual focus. Participating teachers developed their own localised projects to respond to particularity of students, school circumstances and communities. To build their projects, teachers participated in a range of research seminars and collaborative activities including an introductory seminar, dialogue conferences, researcher visits and local support meetings. Independently, teachers engaged in professional reading, written reflections, and recording and transcribing of lessons. Data were gathered from each of the teacher research activities which were audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. A final lesson and interview were video-recorded at the end of the data gathering phase. Detailed thematic analysis was conducted, and selected transcript excerpts have been developed into more detailed transcripts for conversation analysis.

Thematic analysis revealed a number of important findings. Specifically, it was found that critical participatory action research, and its approaches, illuminated the taken-for-grantedness of classroom talk and its influence on student participation and meaning making (about talk and text). Importantly, the influence that teacher-produced recordings and transcriptions had for individual teachers identifying and changing particular features of their classroom talk and interaction was critical. Results showed that through systematic practice teachers can, over time, develop both deep knowledge and a flexible repertoire of talk moves responsive to their local classroom conditions. The development of a repertoire of talk moves enabled students from Kindergarten to Year 6 to accomplish more complex interactions and assume greater responsibility for the interactional conduct of lessons. It was evident that particular talk moves enabled students to take more extended turns, initiate turns, take multiple turns, contribute multi-part turns, and build on the turns of other students – interactive moves that shifted away from the teacher-controlled IRF. The recognition of, and teacher responsivity to, students’ existing interactional competencies was central to the development of highly productive interactions in lessons. This was enhanced through meta talk, and the development of it, which emerged as a necessary resource in the enactment of dialogic pedagogies for literacy learning in the classrooms we studied. Results illustrated that dialogic pedagogies in literacy lessons emphasise and accomplish student meaning making as they produce meanings in their talk, not only the oral language development of individuals.

Research findings led us to conclude that when teachers are supported over time to focus on classroom talk and interaction in their own settings, distinct shifts can be made in their understandings and practices. This shift brought about the development of a range of interactive talk moves described as dialogic pedagogies that opened up the communicative space in lessons to enable students to take more responsibility for meaning making.

Year2016
PublisherPrimary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)
Place of publicationNewtown, NSW
Page range1-46
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All rights reserved
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Output statusPublished
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OnlineNov 2016
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Deposited29 Jun 2022
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