Listening to the teacher: the value of participant reflection on video data
At The Bera Annual Conference 2007.
05 - 08 Sep 2007.
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According to Bernstein (1996), all educational activity entails recontextualisation. In relation to teaching children to read, this means that the real-world activity of ‘reading’ is selectively reconstructed in a way that embodies prevailing cultural assumptions about how children learn. Guided reading is a small-group, teacher-led approach to learning to read, which in its native New Zealand and Australia recontextualises ‘learning to read’ in terms of social constructivist principles. However, although guided reading was imported to England by the National Literacy Strategy in 1998, the guidance materials supplied to English teachers made less reference to pedagogical principles than lesson structures, and it is therefore of interest to explore the extent to which teachers’ guided reading practice reflects a coherent pedagogy.
Socially mediated learning occurs through the medium of talk, and talk in various classroom contexts has been much researched. However, observational studies of classroom interaction tend not to take into account the intentions and understandings of the participants, nor the situation of the interactions within a wider context of classroom culture, relationships and learning, as a process, over time.
This paper focuses on an element of an ongoing research project which adopts a Bernsteinian socio-cultural framework to explore English primary teachers’ understandings of the pedagogy involved in guided reading. As an important element of this research, a technique known as video-stimulated reflective dialogue (Moyles et al. 2003) is used to provide access to a teacher’s own interpretation of the interactions which occur during a guided reading lesson. Following video-recording of a guided reading lesson, the teacher provides a commentary on aspects of the lesson which she considers significant. Superimposed on the lesson transcript, this enables the analysis of observed behaviours and language patterns to be illuminated with the teacher’s own interpretations.
This paper will discuss:
• in what ways does the teacher’s commentary enhance the findings from observational data?
• what methodological issues arise?
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