It’s been a long time…

… since I’ve posted here.  2017!  What’s happened since then?

Well, lots.  I’ll limit myself to developments related to dialogic pedagogy.  First, some publications:

Snell, J. & Lefstein, A. (2018). “Low Ability”, participation and identity in dialogic pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 55:1, 40-78.  This is the final paper arising from our Towards Dialogue project.  We discuss the tension between dialogic pedagogy, which pushes for all children to participate in challenging classroom discussions, and prevalent ideologies about pupil ability as fixed, which cast doubt on some pupils’ capacity to participate effectively.  This is a problem because teaching practices that seek to make pupil thinking visible can also make perceived pupil “inarticulateness” and/or “low ability” visible, with important implications for pupil identities. The article explores how the teachers we worked with managed the participation and identities of perceived “low ability” pupils.

Asterhan, C., Howe, C., Lefstein, A., Matusov, E., & Reznitskaya, A. (2020) Controversies and consensus in research on dialogic teaching and learning. Dialogic Pedagogy Journal, 8. http://dpj.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/dpj1/article/view/312.  This piece is the product of a panel discussion of “provocations” posed by Christa Asterhan at an EARLI conference.  We discussed our working definitions of dialogue; the value of statistical methods for studying dialogue; dialogue, inclusion and social class; and why classroom discourse is so resistant to change.

Lefstein, A., Pollak, I. & Segal, A., (2020), Compelling Student Voice: Dialogic Practices of Public Confession. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2018.1473341.  In this article we explore a series of public confessions performed by pupils in a discussion about responding to peer group social ostracism in a sixth grade literacy lesson in Israel.  The teacher pressed pupils to take a stand, and to express improper thoughts or actions, in an appropriate voice, or be challenged and/or judged inadequate. This case study shows how attempts to empower voice can back-fire; we argue that dialogic pedagogy should include a right to remain silent.  (This article is the third in a trilogy of studies that explore the dynamics of voice in classroom dialogue; the other two studies are here and here.)

Barak, M & Lefstein, A. (in press). Opening Texts for Discussion: Developing Dialogic Reading Stances.  Reading Research Quarterly. We know that teachers’ and students’ stances toward the texts they read and discuss are consequential for the quality of classroom dialogue.  Expressive and critical reading stances, in particular, can encourage and support dialogic discussions. In this article we look at the affordances and limitations of rereading discussions as a means of facilitating teachers’ development of dialogic reading stances.

Second, some research projects:

a) Teacher collaborative discourse and learning.  For the past six years I’ve been collaborating with two large school districts to explore ways of facilitating teacher on the job learning through what we’ve come to call pedagogically productive talk.  You can find a summary of our ideas on the topic, and an overview of our research here:

Lefstein, A., Vedder-Weiss, D., & Segal, A. (2020) Relocating Research on Teacher Learning: Toward Pedagogically Productive Talk. Educational Researcher 49 (5):360-368.

You might also find the following systematic review of studies on teacher collaborative discourse useful:

Lefstein, A., Louie, N., Segal, A., & Becher, A. (2020). Taking Stock of Research on Teacher Collaborative Discourse: Theory and Method in a Nascent Field.   Teaching and Teacher Education, 88.

b) Meaningful learning through academically productive dialogue: a multi-level, large-scale, design-based implementation study (with Christa Asterhan, Dana Vedder-Weiss, Guy Roth, Hadar Netz, funded by the Israeli Science Foundation).  This study investigates the reciprocal relationship between dialogue in the classroom and cognitive skills, motivation and achievement; the social, cognitive and motivational factors that shape productive classroom dialogue; and the reciprocal relationship between formal teacher professional development structures and informal processes of learning on the job. We were off to a fantastic start until COVID-19 disrupted everything.

c) Center for the Study of Pedagogy – A Research-Practice Partnership.   We’ve just recently received funding to set up this Center.  More details to come.

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