Page: 247-278 Author: ŠALAMOUNOVÁ, Z., ŠEĎOVÁ, K., SEDLÁČEK, M., ŠVAŘÍČEK, R. Key words: dialogic teaching, principle of purposefulness, purposelessness of lesson, educational content, students’ replies involving argumentation, interventional programme for teachers
This contribution is based on data gathered in an intervention research project in which eight teachers cooperated with four researchers on a professional development programme aimed at the implementation of features of dialogic teaching in their teaching practice. Dialogic teaching emphasises work with language and communication with pupils to stimulate their thinking and deepen their understanding (Alexander, 2006). The intervention proved to be successful in the sense that the modes of communication of both the teachers and their students changed. On the other hand, we noted during analysis of video-recorded classes that teachers included dialogic teaching without respecting the principle of purposefulness.
Consequently, in this contribution we provide a typology of situations in which teachers meet some formal indicators of dialogic teaching but violate the principle of purposefulness, and we explain what causes violations of the principle. Categories of such situations include the initiation of pointless guesses about theme, riddles, quasi-evocation of responses and quasi-critical reflections, mere chatting, digressions into students’ personal life, and setting tasks out of the students’ reach.
We identify two causes of purposeless passages: thoughtless adoption of teaching methods and a deviation from the lesson plan which the teacher is unable to control. We then examine the relationship between the key indicator of argumentation in students’ replies and the principle of purposefulness to identify how the presence of dialogic education is connected to effectiveness of teaching. Our findings show that if student replies involving arguments increase in number then the degree of purposefulness increases as well.