Benefits of Classroom Discourse

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Situative and other sociocultural perspectives on learning construe knowing as fundamentally social Discourse to Enhance Formative Assessment and Practice (Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003; Lave & Wenger, 1991) and view participation in discourse, for example, as primary characterization of learning and knowing. In this sense, enhancing participation in discursive practices is learning and not simply something that supports learning. In this article, authors draw on Hickey, et. al.' sociocultural views of classroom discourse, which view social interaction as integral to meaning making and learning (e.g., Mercer, 2004; Wickman & Ostman, 2002; Wortham, 2005), but also consider the understanding and skills of individuals. Such scholars characterize the act of completing individual assessments as another form of participation in a trajectory of discursive practices that relate understanding in social situations to that which is “gathered” in more individualized contexts (often inevitable in formal education). Such learning is a trajectory of participation in discursive practices in which students must engage the text and inscriptions of assessments in meaningful ways. This practice necessarily draws upon other, less formal, discursive representations. Hickey,et.al (2005) considered this latter type in their analyses, which then refined across three stages with the goal of scaffolding students’ abilities to navigate more formal discursive representation such as those on achievement tests.
It is believed that the enactment of a curriculum is socially constituted and sustained by individuals within participatory contexts that shape students’ and teachers’ engagement (Gutiérrez & Rogoff, 2003; Holland, Lachiotte, Skinner, & Cain, 1998)....

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...actice supports learning of a ‘descriptive process’. It can be said that student and teacher engagement in collaborative activities support and constrain meaningful understanding, which are considered in terms of a trajectory of participation in and across conversations and multilevel assessments, as well as individual learning gains on formal classroom examinations and standards-oriented external tests. Analyses of complementary formulations of genre concepts—as social action—suggest that participation in social forms of scientific engagement supports both learning and subsequent performance in more formal contexts. The findings obtained in this study suggest design principles for integrating the formative functions of discursive feedback with the summative functions of traditional assessment, through participation in different forms of rhetoric based discourse(s).
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