islPAL - International Society for Leadership in Pedagogy and Learning

Pedagogies and Learning

Christine Edwards-Groves - Keynote

Pedagogies for participation: Opening up communicative spaces for productive learning

Learning in primary schools is inherently social; and participating in lessons typically requires participating in practices whereby teachers and students encounter one another as interlocutors, in interaction and in interrelationships (Kemmis, Wilkinson, Edwards-Groves, Hardy, Grootenboer & Bristol, 2014). These practices are fundamental to understanding and enacting pedagogies in classroom learning and teaching. Practices, and so pedagogies, both constitute and are constituted by the particular words used, the particular things done and the particular relationships which exist in the interactions between people. In this teachers and students - as co-participants in dialogues that form the fundamental building blocks of ‘a lesson’ – engage in social transactions that create spaces for learning and teaching. These spaces potentially promote a range of productive interactional (relating), socialising (communicating and participating), and intellectual (knowing) functions. This presentation will show the particularity of the talk moves teachers enact to shape a pedagogy for participation; this is a pedagogy which is dialogic, open, reflexive and explicitly focused on student learning.

The address will provide empirical examples which illustrate the strategic approaches teachers use to signal that student participation is not just welcome but expected. At the same time the examples will show that to participate in classroom practices requires coherence and comprehensibility of what counts as important by how the lesson unfolds in words, in actions and through interactions; that is teachers and students ‘live’ the lesson through different patterns of sayings, doings and relatings. From this, the paper is positioned within the realm of practice theory; in particular it will draw on the theory of practices architectures (Kemmis et al., 2014) that make it possible to describe in fine-grained ways the arrangements that influence and shape how more dialogic practices facilitate deep engagement with the particular content or aspect of knowledge. It will be argued that a dialogic approach to pedagogy leads learning to be active, paving the way for students to enter a participatory classroom culture.