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ERIC Number: ED523520
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 268
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-2911-6
Reframing Discussions
Sherry, Michael B.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Recitations and discussions are two types of interactions which have long been of interest to researchers who study classroom discourse in secondary English and Social Studies. According to research, teachers control the discourse during recitations through "inauthentic" questions requiring pre-specified answers. In contrast, discussions involve shared control and include "authentic" questions allowing multiple interpretations. This research has described recitations and discussions as opposites. Moreover, recitations and discussions have primarily been distinguished by who speaks and how many answers are possible. In defining these interactions in terms of stable categories and a multiplicity of voices and interpretations, little attention has been paid to dynamic relationships created through discourse during these interactions: If recitations appear to be so persistent, how might they be "reframed" as discussions through negotiation of the roles, relationships, and responses that are possible and appropriate in an interaction? If discussions involve not only expressing multiple opinions but also engaging with texts and responding to others' perspectives, how do speakers relate their experiences to the topic and build on others' contributions? My dissertation addressed discussions in terms of dynamic, discursive relationships through sociolinguistic discourse analysis of field notes, class transcripts, written reflections, and interviews on 28 lessons over one year in an urban 10th grade English class, a suburban 9th grade Social Studies class, and a rural 12th grade Composition class. Based on this research, I make the following claims. Recitations and discussions are not stable discourse patterns determined by individual speakers or individual turns in conversation. In contrast with prior English and Social Studies education research, the teacher's intended purpose did not necessarily determine the nature of the interaction, and inauthentic/authentic questions were not necessarily indicators of recitations/discussions. Rather, the discourse seemed to depend on how the interactional frame could be (re)negotiated among teacher and students. Recitations were reframed as discussions by relating students to the topic through "animation" and by relating different opinions to each other via "double voicing." "Animation" that cast students as figures in a historical/literary event reframed recitations as discussions by describing the topic as one with which students could identify. This finding adds to English and Social Studies education research on how envisionment of story worlds can increase students' comprehension/engagement and on how imagining themselves into events can increase students' empathy/authority. "Double voicing" students' comments reframed recitations as discussions by repeating what others had said in ways that provoked debate. This finding adds to English and Social Studies education research on how asking questions about what others have just said can contribute to discussion and on how interpretive questions encourage debate. Discussions can depend on the framing of other classroom interactions. Activities that preceded and followed discussions, in these data, shaped the frame for discussions. The framing of similar activities among teacher and students during previous classes shaped the frame for discussions. Repeated renegotiation of the frame led to emergence of genres, or types, of discussions. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 10; Grade 12; Grade 9
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A