The Dialogic Nature of Meaning Making within a Hybrid Learning Space: Individual, Community, and Knowledge-Building Pedagogical Tools

The Dialogic Nature of Meaning Making within a Hybrid Learning Space: Individual, Community, and Knowledge-Building Pedagogical Tools

Deborah A. Horan (Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA), Afra Ahmed Hersi (Loyola University Baltimore, USA) and Patrick Kelsall (Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9680-8.ch002
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

The chapter presents a reflective case study of a specific instance of hybrid teaching with preservice teachers in a graduate course on the languages and literacies of bilingual elementary children. The intensive summer course occurred across eight weeks, with four on-campus meetings and the remainder of the course occurring online. The authors address three specific pedagogical tools meant to scaffold dialogic meaning making through instructor-mediated learning and student individualization. The chapter is framed within a social constructivist stance that examines the nature of dialogic meaning making and hybrid teaching. The chapter includes detailed examples of three pedagogical tools: discussion boards as community-building spaces, dialogue journals an individualization spaces, and content application as approximation spaces for knowledge building. Interdisciplinary examples for teaching linguistically diverse children relate to mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts. In addition, the authors discuss implications and directions for research.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Preparing to teach a hybrid course, an instructor pre-surveys her teacher education students: Please identify one or two instructional methods that have supported your learning in your previous hybrid or online learning.

Instead of naming positive instructional methods, the resounding answer from students: Not discussion boards!

The instructor began to ask a new question: How do I design a hybrid space that fosters dialogic meaning making through online tools and that remains responsive to student needs?

Hybrid instructional models—whether blended or flipped—are a widely adopted form of instruction in teacher education programs. Yet as noted in the above vignette, there is a need to develop effective pedagogy for these web-enhanced courses. The effectiveness of any hybrid instruction presumes the meaningful engagement of students through tools (Vygotsky, 1978) in ways that foster critical thinking and social construction of knowledge (Morrison, Watson, & Morrison, 2012).

This chapter addresses the dialogic meaning making within a graduate hybrid learning space, with specific attention to individual, community, and knowledge-building experiences in an elementary initial licensure program. As members of a hybrid community of learners, individuals bring varied background knowledge, learning styles, and long-term goals as future elementary teachers. Within this chapter, hybrid learning spaces refers to learning-focused and learner-focused interactions through both online and on-campus venues. Both of these venues involve multimodal meaning making and various forms of representing knowledge with the intent of a more fluid exchange of ideas that develop professional knowledge at the individual and collective levels.

This case study (Merriam, 1998) explores a specific instance of hybrid teaching with preservice teachers, focused on the languages and literacies of linguistically diverse elementary children. The intensive summer course occurred across eight weeks, with four on-campus meetings and the remainder of the course occurring online. The course instructor sought to foster learning from a social constructivist stance that created meaningful spaces for professional dialogue around pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman, 1986; 1987) for preservice elementary teachers, who were expanding their understandings of effective instruction for linguistically diverse K-6 children learning English as an additional language (sometimes referred to as English Language Learners or ELLs). Within this course, graduate students represented a continuum of experiences, including some students who were beginning the initial licensure program and others who were nearing student teaching.

Specifically, this chapter addresses the dialogic (Bakhtin, 1992; Burbules, Purdie, & Boulton-Lewis, 1993) integration of pedagogical tools, such as discussion boards and journals, and the ways in which an instructor mediates student learning through specific instructional choices and scaffolding (Vygotsky, 1978) that build pedagogical content knowledge. Interdisciplinary examples for teaching linguistically diverse children relate to mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts. Instructional design choices shared within this chapter are counter balanced by the critical insight of one graduate student, Patrick, who completed a reflective protocol for examining his experiences around specific content and instructional tools within the focus hybrid course. Finally, implications, recommendations, and areas for future research are offered.

Top

Background

With today’s technological and web-based affordances, universities have expanded possibilities for hybrid learning. These redefinitions of learning spaces represent various combinations of both in-person (on-campus, including satellite campuses) and distance learning (whether as an online cohort or a within a one-time course).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multimodal: The different ways of representing knowledge and meaning making across various modalities (visual, aural, semiotic) and the interaction and integration in creating multimodal text (such as websites, reports, and video).

Community of Learners: Defined as a group of people who share values and beliefs and who are actively engaged in learning from one another.

Approximation Spaces: Refers to activities—whether online or on-campus—that scaffold students to enter these professional habits of mind at a higher levels of thinking.

Zone of Proximal Development: A concept in Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural learning theory that describes the gap between what the learner has mastered and what the learner can achieve when provided educational support.

Dialogic Meaning Making: Based on Bakhtin’s (1992) theory of discourse that viewed language and communication as dynamic, historically grounded social interactions, meaning making occurs through dialogic interaction with individuals and objects (e.g. texts, videos, etc.).

Scaffolding: Instructional strategies designed to provide learning support at students’ zones of proximal development.

Dialogue Journal: A reflective or inquiry-focused journal in which the student carries the majority of the writing. The primary goal is to develop thinking in a space that allows for approximated learning with instructor interaction ( Brisk & Harrington, 2007 ). Instructor input occurs not as corrective feedback but more as an instructional conversation that engages and responds specifically to the student’s developmental process relative to course content.

Community Of Practice: Participants interact and come together around the sharing of common professional repertoires—knowledge, routines, tools, symbols, and other resources—for use in their professional practice. Participants interact, share meaning, forge professional identities, and learn from each other.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset