A Dialogic Teaching Approach: Talk Moves to Deepen Students’ Understanding in the Geography Classroom, pp. 6 of 12

As a result, this produced low levels of explicit interanimation of ideas (Mortimer & Scott, 2006) where the teacher simply listed students’ ideas on the board to make the different ideas available, but little development was made on the ideas. This also supports Lemke’s (1990) study that drew linkages to the control of knowledge in the classroom when teacher authority assertion is maintained through the fixed IRF sequences. Here, the students are perceived to be ‘receivers’ more than ‘producers’ of knowledge construction in the classroom – this results in the students being stuck in the mentality of passivity even when the teacher puts in effort to probe further during discussions.

Authority and power

As seen from the above discussion, the teacher attempted to probe further on many occasions, but the students still gave short-ended responses that did not allow for cumulation of ideas from peers. Students seem to be stuck in the passive mentality of ‘absorbers’ of knowledge despite constant probing and this could be due to the authoritative climate set up in the classroom. Mehan and Griffin (1979) argued that most authoritative interactions are facilitated through the distinct IRF pattern. This creates the mentality that the teacher is the sole knowledge producer and that students are merely receivers to the knowledge narration.

Student-Initiated/Directed Teaching Approach

In contrast, student-initiated talk in the classroom tends to be more interactive and dialogic in nature where interaction exchanges have more room for alternative responses and unplanned sporadic discussions. Analysing the interaction sequences, data showed that student-initiated talk resulted in higher productive engagement in class.

Patterns of interaction & communicative approach

Looking at the structure of the exchanges between the teacher and students in the classroom, it can be seen that the interaction patterns are nontriadic in nature. Referring to  Excerpts 5 and 6 below, interaction patterns generated an I-I-R-I-R-I-I-R-I-R I…F form, where the questions (I) were not solely posed by the teacher, but by students as well. These patterns are highly complex, as the response from one student may not address the initial question posed, but might be a comment on a particular student’s response.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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