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Title: A dialogic exploration of philosophy for children as a participatory tool in a primary classroom
Authors: Barrow, Wilma
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis involves a collaborative action research project in a primary class. Its aim was to shift talking rights and support the development of a more democratic ethos within the classroom through promoting dialogic pedagogy. The rationale was based on a critical consideration of the literature arguing that dialogue should have a central place in participatory practice. The research was viewed through the lens of dialogic theory. This theoretical allows an approach to transformation through dialogue which does not shut down diversity and difference. It is therefore arguably helpful to participatory agendas. Philosophy for Children (P4C) was used as a tool support the development of dialogic teaching. The action research process involved five plan-do- review cycles during which the teacher facilitated video recorded philosophy sessions with the class. Each of these was followed by dialogue between the teacher and researcher supported by video recordings of classroom dialogues recorded during the P4C sessions. The process attempted to balance the risk of theory dominating action through application of a Dionysian approach to planning. Following each evaluation and reflective dialogue with the researcher, the teacher had space to reflect and plan the next session. The thesis outlines the ways in which the project developed through these five cycles. Dialogue between teacher and researcher was analysed using a form of analysis based on dialogic assumptions about the multi-voiced nature of talk. The findings suggest that there were changes in the ways in which the teacher positioned herself in relation to the pupils. Pupil interview data suggests that children experienced an increased opportunity to express their opinions within the classroom. Their understanding of the right of expression was relational as they also emphasized their responsibility to receive the views of others even where these differed from their own. Although the findings suggest shifts in the form of talk and the patterns of control of talk, there were issues around small group dominance which require ongoing consideration. The multiple demands upon teachers attempting to implement such changes were considered together with approaches to supporting teacher development in this area.
Description: D Ed Psy Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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