Transforming teachers' construction of student diversity through collective argumentation

Year: 2007

Author: Brown, Raymond, Renshaw, Peter

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Teaching is often viewed as an adult activity focused on promoting student learning through controlling and directing student attention and behaviour within well defined institutional constraints. Collective Argumentation challenges this view by situating teaching within a sociocultural process of promoting student learning through participation in the ways of knowing and doing adopted by localised learning communities. To capture this dynamic process, we tracked across a four-year time frame a group of three teachers in one school who were part of a “design experiment” on Collective Argumentation. We focus here on how categories within their 'talk' about teaching changed as their own pedagogy changed to include the practices of Collective Argumentation. This paper focuses particularly on one teacher whose account of his practices exemplifies the shift characteristic of all three teachers who took up the practices of Collective Argumentation. They adopted a new pedagogical framework that was not focused on controlling and directing student behaviour, but rather on engendering shared practices and enabling students to participate actively as members of a particular classroom community.