Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Education
Students’ voices are all too often missing in classrooms today. Research over the past 50 years has identified a number of problems associated with these missing voices. There are ingrained habits of “initiation-response-evaluation" (I-R-E) during which teachers assume responsibility for guiding classroom conversation and a tendency for many educators to engage in more monologic talk patterns. These classroom talk patterns intersect with several affective factors to significantly impede students’ full and genuine participation in learning. The purpose of this study was to develop and implement an intervention drawn from theories of dialogic pedagogy that I called Facilitated Participant-Centered Discussion (FPCD). FPCD was informed by a theory of dialogue grounded in the philosophic hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Given challenges associated with students’ missing voices, I employed a formative design framework to investigate what conditions supported or impeded the development of dialogue in a college-level online classroom. Constant comparative methods were used to iteratively collect and analyze data in an embedded, single-case study; then, retrospective analyses of the findings sought to identify implications, unanticipated outcomes, and recommendations for future research. Results indicated that the instructor’s understanding and facilitation of dialogue improved and students’ participation in classroom discussion increased. Findings suggested: a) factors associated with a “classroom press” were significant barriers to developing classroom dialogue; b) a tension between authority and openness inhibited FPCD, c) despite supports built into the intervention, affective factors continued to challenge the instructor’s leadership and powerfully inhibit student participation, and d) modeling a spirit of openness that welcomes student perspectives was essential to facilitating dialogue.
Topper, P. Kevin, "MISSING VOICES: A FORMATIVE EXPERIMENT TO IMPROVE DIALOGUE IN ONE ONLINE COLLEGE CLASSROOM DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC" (2023). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 1543.