Dialogic Teaching: starting the assignment

I’ve decided to blog about the literature review assignment for the Chartered Teacher Programme – mostly so I had a useful record of the reading that I would be doing as I refine the area of interest, but also to see if it helps with the thinking behind the eventual research project I will undertake.

I’m fascinated by dialogic teaching. Not because I have any knowledge or experience but because it is an area of unchartered territory and I want the assignment to be one of interesting discoveries rather than comfortable territory. Also partly for recognising in my own students there is an under-confidence when it comes to talking about their work, not so with regards to metacognition but more focused on the content and concepts covered in the lessons. At this point I am keen to focus an eventual project on Year 12, and something investigating talk and how I can encourage an increased confidence seems ideal.

Thanks to a tweet I discovered Mendeley – and this has been useful to keeping a library of articles, not only for this Literature review assignment but for the various other projects I do. I particularly like how it makes recommendations of useful articles connected to those already in the library. Following the succinct and useful Education Research unit on the Chartered Teacher MyPD portal, I did a Google Scholar (something else new to me!) search. I did note that whilst dialogic pedagogy, with Robin Alexander as the key writer on the subject, might be a specific approach but I should not ignore issues of oracy and classroom talk. I broadened the search terms and have found quite a lot of material, and some books that I will venture to the British Library to take a look at. I’m pleased there is plenty to look at, and that dialogic teaching has even been covered by the EEF. With so much to look at it I’ll probably create a bibliography next and annotate with brief comments as I go (for me, rather than public consumption) taking into account the suggestions from the EdRes Unit about evaluating the research we find. I will hopefully weed out some of the less useful material, and refine the bibliography into some key texts that demonstrate the range of approaches and contexts where dialogic pedagogy has appeared and that cover a good time span (i.e. not just from the past year).

Never wanting to be inefficient in my working, I’m pleased that I am able to combine this preparation for the Literature Assignment with the preparations I am doing for a collaborative enquiry group at my school. I selected dialogic pedagogy very much on a whim, as I wanted something new and something that might usefully investigate the confidence in talk issue I’ve mentioned above. I’m looking forward to facilitating the work of the group and will prepare an introductory presentation (very short!) on the key ideas and key writing/research that my literature review has revealed. The focus of the CEGs is for action-research, so I will be keen to move away from the philosophical debates towards real-world applications quickly.

I thought I’d start by looking at the dialogic/oracy articles in the most recent issue of Impact.

  • Speaking up: the importance of oracy in teaching and learning (Will Millard)
  • It’s good to talk: moving towards dialogic teaching (Daryn Egan-Simon)
  • Dialogic RE: Oracy for the 21st Century (Antony Luby).

My next blog post will be the summary of my reading of those three articles, and then I’ll write a series of posts about each set of reading I do. I’m going to try and combine readings rather than do a post per reading, to get into the habit of comparison and reflection.

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