“But you said this...”: Students’ management of disagreement within a dialogic approach to literacy instruction

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Proponents of dialogic teaching argue for changes to classroom interaction to promote student language use and higher-order thinking. An under-researched aspect of dialogic approaches is the way students initiate and manage disagreement during their talk with each other. This article examines interaction in whole-class talk during a literacy lesson in a Grade 5/6 classroom, focusing on the ways students disagreed with each other during discussion of a controversial topic and visual text. Conversation analysis delineates methods used by students to disagree with the perspectives of some students and align with others, and to diffuse disputes that sometimes arose out of disagreements. Methods discerned in the analysis include quoting previous talk of a student and formulating prior thoughts, aligning and dis-aligning with others using words and gestures, and use of laughter to respond to marked verbal and non-verbal displays of opposition. Discussion considers how students made use of interactional practices found in disagreements in ordinary conversations and in more formal argumentation, how their interpretive work informed the literacy lesson and interactions with each other in this multi-party setting, and how the teacher’s action research project promoted opportunities for students to try out more academic and institutional ways of engaging in disagreement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-200
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Language and Literacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2018

Grant Number

  • 101529


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