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Silver, Rita
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In this study, I focus on looking at the meaning in classroom talk through the prism of dialogue, specifically Bakhtinian dialogue, at how it informs meaning and at how these two concepts of meaning and dialogue interact in an educational context. There are various approaches to understanding and unpacking meaning, and how meaning relates to language and speech. There are also different approaches to understanding and unpacking dialogue in teaching and learning (e.g., Alexander, 2001; Burbules, 1993; Skidmore, 2000; Wells, 1999). Dialogue is central to education because it is viewed as a verbal way to exchange thoughts and alternative points, arguments or disputable issues in a form of questioning or critiquing to arrive at an understanding of the discussed matter. In seeing dialogue as such, educators maintain the value of dialogic exchanges as a useful knowledge inquiry tool to materialize student thinking processes. Thus, dialogue has been perceived as a discourse pattern which might best enhance learning in classrooms (Mercer & Littleton, 2007; Skidmore & Murakami, 2016; Walsh, 2006).

For the purpose of investigating classroom talk using the lens of Bakhtinian dialogue, I designed and carried out a proof of concept study that was set out to illuminate the issues and potentials of Bakhtin’s theoretical concepts constituting dialogue. Specifically, I examined utterance, addressivity, responsivity residing in utterance, connections and dialogic relationships between utterances (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986a, 1986b; Holquist, 1990; Todorov, 1984) and the part which these concepts play in meaning making.

A proof of concept study is a preliminary rollout and check of a specific program, and of its process, method and idea to demonstrate its feasibility. It is useful to conduct a trial run for testing those ideas and to see if and how they can be practically implemented and applied (Ceylan & Yesilmen, 2005) to the classroom. In this study, Bakhtinian ideas on the centrality of utterances in speech, dialogic relationships between utterances, and their role in meaning making are tested for how they can be applied in the analysis of classroom discourse.

The key goals of this proof of concept study include:
- unpacking and operationalizing the concepts of utterance, responsive reactions, and dialogic relationships between utterances (Bakhtin, 1986a) and notions constituting utterance, such as addressivity, responsivity, completeness;
- problematizing the role of the above concepts in meaning making; and
- investigating how the operationalization and problematizing of these concepts can be useful for classroom discourse.

To operationalize Bakhtinian theoretical concepts, this study adopts the method of iterative reading (Srivastava & Hopwood, 2009). The operationalized concepts are then organized in an analytical scheme used to investigate classroom talk. Two units of English Language lessons were investigated with the use of the analytical scheme developed in this research. The analytical scheme developed as a result of this study is tested for its potential as a theoretically grounded, clearly operationalized Bakhtinian analysis of classroom talk and classroom interactions during English Language lessons. These analyses could potentially provide additional insights into the process of teaching and learning language.
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P95.455 Kog
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Appears in Collections:Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

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