Bridging the Gap: 21ST Century Media Meets Theoretical Pedagogical Literacy Practices

Bridging the Gap: 21ST Century Media Meets Theoretical Pedagogical Literacy Practices

Divonna M. Stebick (Gettysburg College, USA) and Mary L. Paxton (Shippensburg University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4426-7.ch001
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In this chapter, the researchers used an ethnographic stance to demonstrate how conversation evolved within a social media platform. They investigated the online discussions and face-to-face dialogues between teacher educators and pre-service teachers. They compared the participants’ reciprocal conversations within this case study to analyze patterns in the language used in each forum in order to identify the affordances and constraints of perceived understanding. Through this discourse analysis the authors sought to identify indicators of each participant’s metacognitive development while engaging in an online book discussion through a social media platform. Data analysis indicated that there was metacognitive growth when comparing the initial reciprocal conversations with the final conversations.
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In an educational setting, teachers often make use of a reciprocal teaching model. The concept of reciprocal teaching (Palinscar & Brown, 1984) is grounded in the use of a conversation between teacher and students to come to a shared understanding of a text. It is the use of conversation that allows for interactive teaching of strategies for predicting, questioning and clarification, modeled first by the teacher and then transferred to the students as they take on the role of “teacher” to lead discussions. Teachers become adept at monitoring the flow of the conversation in order to understand when the students are ready to assume the leadership role. It was this type of conversation monitoring that provided the foundation for this work. As the researchers examined the research on the use of conversation analysis as an ethnographic means of discourse analysis, they were led to a broader view. Gee (2004) posited that critical approaches to discourse analysis treat social interactions in terms of “implication for things like, status, solidarity, distribution of social goods, and power” (p. 33).

Likewise, Sharrock (1989) suggested that the flow of conversation within a social structure can be used to examine who is in charge, or has the most perceived power, based on turn taking. The flow between participants who perceived themselves as equals tended to be a balance in turn taking. However, between participants who see one as having more power, the turn taking is disproportionately as response to the person with more perceived expertise. Sharrock (1989) likened this to air-traffic control, one is in charge and the others respond to directions.

By its very nature, conversation develops a detectable flow. Blimes (1988) theorized that conversation analysis should not evaluate meaning as inherent; it is not “fixed at the moment of production” (p. 162). Instead, the participants negotiate it over the natural course of the conversation. In fact, the conversation, produced by and for the participants, forms its own social structure. The participants create the structure and its features through their own interactions. As such, it doesn’t fit in a pre-designed format.

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