- Christine Edwards-GrovesChristine Edwards-GrovesAustralian Catholic University
Dialogic pedagogies, contrasted with more monologic approaches to teaching, constitute a broad field of study concerned with classroom talk and interaction and its influence on student learning, knowledge building, and disciplinary competence. Classroom talk and interaction matter, and what constitutes their efficacy in the dialogic classroom has been the subject of intense research across the globe for many decades. In particular, research interest lies in the role and influence of teacher’s and student’s routine interactional work for facilitating student learning, engagement, and participation. Spanning several decades, the detailed and systematic study of the nature of classroom talk in lessons has intensified, with attention being drawn to ways that dialogic approaches to pedagogy can enhance learning through changed teacher–student exchange patterns. In many ways, focusing on classroom talk, and the patterns of interaction that support it, may seem to be a relatively trivial idea, in that teachers at all levels routinely engage in talk in their pedagogical interactions with students. But herein lies the central issue: Talk and interaction is so commonplace that its purposes, its power, and its position in pedagogy is taken for granted, and it is rarely a focus of deliberate professional reflection, critique, and development. Thus, in the main, classroom dialogue is frequently underplayed as fundamental to efficacy in practice, and so its centrality for teaching and learning drifts into the background. It is in this vein that dialogic researchers across the globe have sought to give prominence to classroom talk and interaction beyond its everyday taken for grantedness.
Drawing on a range of theoretical, methodological, and analytic paradigms, classroom talk and interaction is foregrounded as it relates to pedagogical dialogism. Proponents of dialogic pedagogies make a strong case for renewing an emphasis on classroom talk and interaction through identifying, describing, representing, and changing lesson talk through more dialogically enriched lesson practices. Taken together, the research argues for sustained emphasis on the dialogic, directing educators to the efficacy of everyday encounters in classroom lessons by focusing on the nature and influence of dialogicality, how it works—and what it affords—in the everyday unfolding of teaching and learning. In ranging educational contexts, it has been shown that a dialogic sensibility emerges when teachers and students explicitly attend to and manage the lesson talkscape, where their pedagogical dialogues are learning focused and a shared responsibility.
Proponents of dialogic pedagogies argue for the promotion of “academically productive discourse” by focusing on the impact of opening up the communicative space in classroom discussions in ways that promote student engagement and participation. Yet against a burgeoning body of work from diverse national contexts, research traditions, and analytic approaches heralding its merits, it seems more restrictive discourse structures and more limited discursive opportunities have prevailed in classrooms across the world. In fact, as some researchers have indicated, changing the nature of talk in lessons has proven to be difficult as typical patterns of talk appear to be resistant to change. Ultimately, enduring issues concerning methodology, scalability, focus, and impact on dialogic practice provide grounds for increased larger scale and longitudinal research.
- Curriculum and Pedagogy
- Education and Society