Classroom Interactions in Literacy

Classroom Interactions in Literacy

Classroom Interactions in Literacy

Classroom Interactions in Literacy

Synopsis

This book examines some of the complexities and debates about language, literacy and learning, challenging current assumptions about shared understanding of pedagogical principles. It foregrounds social and cultural issues and the nature of interaction between children and teachers; children and children; children and texts of all kinds; and the significance of wider interactions within the teaching profession. The contributors revitalise debate about the nature of professional knowledge, provide insights into the detail of classroom discourse and teacher interventions and examine the transformative possibilities of literacy. They argue for a more open and expansive agenda informed by an analytically constructive view of pedagogy and challenge the profession to move from restrictive certainties to the potent possibilities of development through uncertainty and risk.

Excerpt

The inspiration and impetus for this book came from the United Kingdom Reading Association (UKRA) International Conference, 2002. However, it is not a book of 'conference proceedings'. While some of the chapters are written by contributors to the conference, other educationists who are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields have been invited to join in constructing an agenda for future language and literacy teaching. For some time now books about education have been written in response to imposed initiatives. Such books are necessary but can distract attention from educators' own research and reflection since they feel they must address other people's concerns before their own. This book sets out to give individual writers the space to express their own convictions about language, literacy and pedagogy in the current context and the chance to look towards the future. Some chapters draw on recent research, while others give a more reflective overview of educational practice in a particular domain of language and literacy. All of them bring a distinctive quality to the theme of classroom interactions. Overall, the intention is to challenge some current restrictive thinking and contribute to a more open and expansive agenda.

In the 1980s and 1990s there were many studies in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US about classroom interaction. In particular Douglas Barnes, Jerome Bruner and Gordon Wells were influential in prompting close attention to the role of language in group interactions. At that time, the idea of learners being encouraged to shape and build meanings for themselves, scaffolded by their teachers, indicated a particular stance towards pedagogy. Since that era, in which rich contributions to educational thinking were made, the term 'interaction' has gone underground; recently, however, it has been resurrected to denote a particular view of pedagogy. 'Interactive teaching' has currently come to have a new stipulative definition, one which assumes that the teacher controls the interaction and that teaching will be organized through whole class arrangements. Rather than describing a dynamic exchange between partners in education, interactive teaching has taken on the . . .

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