An Action Research Approach to Classroom Discussion in the Examination Years


This dissertation is an action research approach to understanding my attempts to improve the quality of education in my own classroom.
Three reports provide the detailed explanations of what occurred when I attempted to put my planned interventions into operation. My concern was with a group of students in the last two years of their compulsory schooling and how they discussed and made sense of issues arising from the events in my own classroom. To this end, I have attempted to integrate the following: 1. transcripts of classroom events; 2. my reflections upon the transcripts and the events; and 3. literature from the field of oracy.
The dissertation is presented in a dialogical form as part of an exploration of a logic of question and answer and generates the possibility of a different definition of generalisation. This is also an attempt to reflect the nature of the research itself - that is, discussions between students, colleagues and myself as well as internal dialogues.
I have also been concerned with issues of validity which have been raised in this form of enquiry. Because of the dialogical nature of the research, the dissertation contains extracts from conversations between colleagues and myself who discussed video films, sound recordings, students' writing as well as my own writing about what I observed. Within this dialogue and reflection, I have attempted to integrate literature from the field of educational research. This integration takes the form of dialogues with the texts as well as with my own reflections.


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Abstract; Content; Part One - Introduction page 1

Part Two - Methodological Concerns page 7

Part Three - Three Research Reports; What ought I to have done? An investigation into the events surrounding a racist poem? page 45

Casting Long Shadows; What are the constraints on the process of learning in my classroom? page 92

Improving Classroom Discussion; Do my interventions help or hinder? page 125

Part Four - What Have I Learned; Beyond the encrustation of habit page 258

Part Five - Bibliography page 268