An Investigation into the Impact of the Dialogic Classroom in the Development of More Effective Verbal Interaction between Learners, within Collaborative Group Work and Whole Class Settings, in Science at KS2.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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The recent introduction of Curriculum 2008, a skills based pedagogy, has seen a 'shift'towards collaborative learning in Wales. However, research reflects the inadequacy of collaborative work in many classrooms. In addition, the recent publication of the PISA Report (2009) raised significant concerns about the standards of reading and writing in Wales. Dialogic teaching as a form of pedagogy has been proven to raise standards of reading and writing through a focus on oracy and building children's confidence in classroom discourse. The focus of this research was to assess the impact of a dialogic classroom on the development of more effective verbal interaction between learners. The research was placed within the context of science, in group and whole class settings, where learners worked collaboratively with both their peers and the researcher. The research comprised an extensive review of literature and the use of a 'mixed methods'action research approach. Learners completed questionnaires to assess their attitudes towards talk, and Talk Diaries measured learners' awareness of how they can use talk to learn. Structured observatíon schedules measured the frequency and length of learners' contributions to group talk. Discourse analysis identified the frequency of indicator words as a measure of the development of exploratory talk. Semi-structured interviews with the learners and their class teacher established their views on the impact of the intervention. A reflective blog encapsulated views of the researcher and class teacher. Ground rules, pupil centered activities and teacher discourse proved key to the successful implementation of the dialogic classroom. The intervention improved the effectiveness of verbal interaction between learners. Recommendations included the necessity of collaborative team work between teachers to advance pedagogy, and the use of learner voice as a 'powerful tool' in developing professional practice.
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