|Title:||Dialogic Teaching: Professional Development in Classroom Discussion to Improve Students' Argument Literacy|
|Principal Investigator:||Wilkinson, Ian||Awardee:||Ohio State University|
|Program:||Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce [Program Details]|
|Award Period:||3 years (7/01/2012-6/30/2015)||Award Amount:||$1,447,711|
|Type:||Development and Innovation||Award Number:||R305A120634|
Co-Principal Investigator: Alina Reznitskaya
Purpose: Student active engagement in classroom discussion, particularly through reasoned argument, has been linked to improved reading and writing achievement and reasoning in other subject areas. However, in typical classrooms, teachers dominate talk, delivering lectures, and students recite material in response to teacher questions (i.e., monologic techniques). This research team intends to develop, refine, and test a professional development program designed to promote dialogic teaching—an approach which relies on open discussion and supports student comprehension and formulation of arguments through speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In this approach, the teacher facilitates student dialogue by drawing the class's attention to the quality of the reasoning, inclusiveness of their group interactions, and progress of their inquiry from debatable questions to reasoned arguments. The professional development program aims to improve both teacher awareness of dialogic versus monologic techniques and their use of dialogic techniques. In turn, dialogic classroom practices are expected to increase students' argument literacy and reading comprehension.
Project Activities: In the first year, researchers will work with a small group of teachers throughout the year to develop the initial version of the professional development program and dialogic teaching measure (Dialogic Talk Scale). Qualitative analyses of audio-recordings of coaching sessions, video-recordings of workshop activities, and feedback from teachers will inform revisions to the intervention and Dialogic Talk Scale throughout the project. In the second year, researchers will use a single-group, pre-post design to ascertain the feasibility and usability of the initial version of the professional development program and Dialogic Talk Scale on a new cohort of teachers. In the third year, researchers will carry out a pilot test of the intervention, assigning schools to treatment or control conditions. Twenty-four teachers new to the intervention will participate in the pilot test. Intervention effects on teacher outcomes (i.e., teacher beliefs, teacher knowledge of dialogic talk, and level of in-class dialogic discussion) and student outcomes (e.g., argument literacy, reading comprehension) will be measured.
Products: The products of this project will be a fully developed professional development program for fifth-grade teachers, an online repository of digital video illustrating different kinds of talk during class discussion, a measure of dialogic talk, and coaching guide. Peer reviewed publications will also be produced.
Setting: Participating schools will be located in suburban and urban districts in Ohio and New Jersey.
Sample: Study participants will be fifth-grade teachers (eight in Year 1; 12 in Year 2; 24 in Year 3) and their students. Students within these school districts consist of 17.3 percent to 47 percent ethnic minority status and 7.4 percent to 48 percent low-income.
Intervention: This intervention is a year-long professional development program designed to promote dialogic teaching—an approach utilizing open discussion for students to comprehend and formulate arguments through speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In this approach, the teacher facilitates student dialogue by drawing the class's attention to the quality of the reasoning, inclusiveness of their group interactions, and progress of their inquiry from debatable questions to reasoned arguments. Teachers attend a four-day workshop, followed by in-class coaching throughout the year. Teachers gain knowledge about dialogic techniques (as opposed to monologic techniques) by identifying them from standardized video clips. Teachers' lessons during the year are then video-recorded and teachers receive coaching based on these videos.
Research Design and Methods: In the first year, researchers will work with a small group of teachers throughout the year to develop the initial version of the professional development program and the Dialogic Talk Scale. Researchers will use a qualitative study design. Audio-recordings of regular meetings with the teachers and project team, teacher focus-group interviews, and teacher diaries will inform the development of the instructional activities and materials and the Dialogic Talk Scale. Pre- and post- assessment of teacher dialogic teaching will each consist of video-recordings of two in-class discussions of researcher-selected texts. During the school year, teachers will conduct videotaped in-class discussions with their students about readings at least once per month. Exemplar videos rated as low, medium, and high on the Dialogic Talk Scale will become part of the online repository of program materials to be used for training of teachers. Researchers will assess the feasibility and reliability of standardized reading test and coding schemas for student responses to speaking, reading, and writing argument tasks of ten randomly selected students from each class.
In the second year, researchers will use a single-group, pre-post design to field test the initial version of the professional development program and Dialogic Talk Scale on a new cohort of teachers. Pre- and post- assessment of teacher outcome measures will each consist of video recordings of two in-class discussions of researcher-selected texts. A teacher self-report measure about their beliefs about knowledge and its acquisition will also be collected. At baseline, teachers will also provide background and teaching experience information, so that researchers can examine associations with these variables with teacher outcomes measures. In addition to the results of quantitative analyses, qualitative analyses of audio-recordings of coaching sessions, video-recordings of workshop activities, and feedback from teachers will inform revisions to the intervention and Dialogic Talk Scale. Researchers will repeat studies carried out in Year 1 to confirm the feasibility and reliability of student outcome measures.
In the third year, researchers will gather data that speaks to the promise of the intervention by carrying out a pre-post quasi-experimental design with a new cohort of teachers. Schools from the same district will be matched according to student socioeconomic status and reading achievement scores on state tests, and then randomly assigned to condition (i.e., treatment or control). All participating teachers and their participating students in both conditions will be assessed according to the same procedures as the previous year.
Control Condition: For the pilot study to test for intervention promise (i.e., third year of the study), 6 elementary schools will be randomly assigned to control condition and will not receive the intervention. With 2 teachers per school, a total 12 teachers will make up the control condition.
Key Measures: Teachers will report their own demographic information and frequency and types of instructional strategies on the Teacher Background and Experience Questionnaire. Teacher beliefs about knowledge and their acquisition will be measured using the Teacher Epistemology Interview. Teacher instructional practice of dialogic teaching and teacher knowledge of dialogic talk will be measured using the Dialogic Talk Scale, which will be based on three observational coding schemas and developed during this study. Student reading achievement will be measured using the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test (Fourth Edition) and the Test of Inference Ability in Reading Comprehension. Student argument literacy will be measured using scoring rubrics for oral, reading and writing argument tasks.
Data Analytic Strategy: Throughout the project, researchers will use qualitative analyses (i.e., inductive content analysis) of audio-recordings of coaching sessions, video-recordings of workshop activities, and feedback from teachers to inform revisions to the intervention and Dialogic Talk Scale. In the second and third year, researchers will conduct non-parametric repeated measures tests, multivariate one-sample t-tests, and repeated measures t-tests to examine differences between pre- and post-test assessments of teacher beliefs, teacher knowledge of dialogic talk, and level of in-class dialogic discussion. In the third year, researchers will use non-parametric analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) for independent samples, Fisher z-tests, and ANCOVA to examine group mean differences on post-test assessments of these teacher outcomes, while controlling for pre-test assessments. Multi-level modeling will be used to evaluate the effects of the intervention on student outcomes while accounting for students nested within classrooms.
Related IES Projects: Group Discussions as a Mechanism for Promoting High-Level Comprehension of Text (R305G020075)
Reznitskaya, A., and Wilkinson, I.A.G. (2015). Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking and Positively Transforming Classroom Practice. In S. Joseph (Ed.), Positive Psychology in Practice (2nd ed., pp. 375–399). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Reznitskaya A., and Wilkinson, I.A.G. (in press). Professional Development in Dialogic Teaching: Helping Teachers Promote Argument Literacy in Their Classrooms. In D. Scott, and E. Hargreaves (Eds.), Handbook of Learning. London: Sage Publications.
Wilkinson, I.A.G., Murphy, P.K., and Binici, S. (2015). Dialogue–Intensive Pedagogies for Promoting Reading Comprehension: What we Know, What we Need to Know. In L.B. Resnick, C.A. Asterhan, and S.N. Clarke (Eds.), (pp. 35–48). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Journal article, monograph, or newsletter
Bråten, I., Muis, K., and Reznitskaya, A. (2017). Teachers' Epistemic Cognition in the Context of Dialogic Practice: A Question of Calibration?. Educational Psychologist: 1–17.
Li, M., Murphy, P.K., and Firetto, C.M. (2014). Examining the Effects of Text Genre and Structure on Fourth– and Fifth–Grade Students' High–Level Comprehension as Evidenced in Small–Group Discussions. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 3(3): 205–234.
Wilkinson, I. A. G., Reznitskaya, A., Glina, M., Bourdage, K., Oyler, K., Nelson, K., Drewry, D. & Min–Young, K. (2016). Toward a More Dialogic Pedagogy: Changing Teachers' Beliefs and Practices through Professional Development in Language Arts Classrooms. Language & Education, 31(1): 65–82.