Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Qualitative Research on 'Mediated Dialogism' among Educators and Pupils

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Qualitative Research on 'Mediated Dialogism' among Educators and Pupils

Article excerpt

The relevance of qualitative research to virtual practices rests on subject knowledge and practical know-how on operations for exchange, growth, learning, and dialogue. Highlighting the discursive perspective, this paper covers theory on emerging didactics for online learning. In doing so, the contents show how computer-mediated learning incorporates a dialogical orientation. There is an empirical account of experiences of applying the theory in a comprehensive Nordic network with an aspect of computer-mediated theory focused on Ba, a construct illustrating how educators and pupils keep their higher mental operations creative in the process of critiquing and applying knowledge in English as a foreign language. The paper explores the social nature of learning, emphasising the dialogical perspective, weaving methodological consistencies, and principles and theoretical positions with recent conceptual elaborations that focus on knowledge creation in emerging realities. Ideas about action learning provide an overview of issues particular to research on virtual discursive interaction. Key words: Methodology, Dialogism, Information Systems/Theory, and Learning

Professional educators combining virtual and classroom resources and helping pupils compose narrative texts is a feasible backbone for a project sponsored by the Nordic Council. Nordplus 890/2002-03 is a network for developing teaching and learning of English as a foreign language (Tale). This text is a half-time analysis of processes and results for helping pupils strengthen their ability to compose narrative texts.

Activities are shared between some 500 class teachers, pupils, researchers, teacher educators, and student teachers. Partners represent 20 institutions of higher education, all related to teacher education. Student and class teachers design and apply classroom experiments during physical exchanges in local practice schools. Intermittent virtual exchanges supplement situated classroom activities by narrative texts, peer response, homepage design, and chat board interaction. The general assumption is that pupils will improve their ability to write in English by means of teacher instruction, interaction, and the new medium. The purpose of the project is to help educators imagine, create, apply, and evaluate a comprehensive curriculum of adapted method, assignments, tasks, procedures, and exercises for helping pupils compose good narrative texts. Producing and collecting the data is the main activity in 24 practice schools. Response on the pupils' texts in Blackboard is a supplementary activity. Analysis of didactical measures like process writing, narrative thinking, or cross-cultural understanding form other activities. In this article, outcomes are evaluated in terms of mediated dialogism. I define the concept as one person's understanding of another person's understanding of a shared phenomenon like e.g., pupils' text compositions in a process of meeting, refraction, and renewal of meaning. A re-constructed text-action phenomenon like web-based submissions, and peer response can be analysed from a perspective of "mediated agency" (Wertsch & Toma, 1995). The concept is defined as a discoursed situation where the system administrator is reduced to an instrumental medium, faking a communicative vehicle, and portraying the interlocutors as passive bystanders. Mediated dialogism on the other hand is a social activity where participants influence each others' cognitions, emotions, and propensity for action. It constitutes part of a wider context with its own dynamics and complexity.

The Subjects

Tale comprises of a network of people and schools with a focus on narrative text composition. There are 12 teacher educators, six subject experts, 24 class teachers, 24 student teachers, and about 400 pupils registered in the system. Teacher educators and student teachers participate in physical exchanges with alternating hosts for benchmarking, practical experimentation, evaluation, and dissemination of results. …

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