The typical way foreign languages are taught is through a monologicdiscourse, the teacher is the one in control of knowledge taught and studentsonly recite what is said (Nystrand & Gamoran, 1991; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988). The process used is the Initiate– Respond– Evaluate (IRE)1mode of teaching: the teacher asks a question, students respond, then teacherevaluates the response. IRE has beentagged as a discourse that limits learning because discussion is hindered aswell as innovation.
Participation and content are both controlled by theteacher and teacher is holding the final truth, the dialogue is ‘ Magistral’. To take next steps toward ‘ Socratic dialogue’ isto try triadic dialogue in teaching. A triadic dialogue comes into theclassroom when the teacher controls the flow of the conversation while studentsexpress opinions and develop ideas based on their own perceptions (Haneda, 2004). Nassaji & Wells (2000). The transition from IRE to triadic dialogue happenswhen teacher moves from known information questions (KIQ) to open-endedquestions, and the choice of follow up activities expands to support moreinvolvement of students. Involvement in learning increases making education more meaningful.
These teachers believe students are not only receiving knowledge but use Reddy’s(1979) metaphor of “ talk as a conduit down which knowledge flows” (Hall , 2002). In this study, the aim is to promote dialogue during secondlanguage lessons. The first issue teachers are facing especially with C1students, is the lack of suitable vocabulary to use in arguments. To givestudents confidence and to provide them with a kit of vocabulary, it ispractical to use text book text or work sheets related to topic as a source ofvocabulary.
Students can use segments of text for the purpose of constructingthe dialogue in the class. This method is called reciprocal teaching2(Palincsar 1986). Reciprocal teaching is aninstructional activity that takes the form of a dialogue which is supported byreading. At the same time this method promotes students’ reading comprehension. Palincsar (1986) believes the “ purpose of reciprocal teaching is to facilitatea group effort between teacher and students as well as among students in thetask of bringing meaning to the classroom conversation” (p. 34). Reciprocalteaching introduces teacher modeling, student participation, and the use ofstrategies to teach comprehension. When teacher and students share the leadingof discussion, it is reciprocal (Oczkus 2003).
To move from monologic teaching toward intersubjectivity and truedialogue teachers need to take step by step actions with students. We are notin an assumption that dialogue will occur by itself, but we believe that withright guidance it is possible to create conditions for dialogic teaching(Wells, 2006). On these basis, we decided that little success wouldbe obtained by just telling teachers to create dialogue through differentmodels, but instead conduct an action research to create a solution.
1 The Initiate-Response-Evaluate (IRE) model ofquestioning is a traditional teacher led question and answer session that isstill widely used in classrooms despite its shortcomings. This style ofquestioning does have some place in the classroom, it is a very effective wayof checking for factual knowledge, or fact recall. 2 Reciprocal Teaching is a research-based strategy thatteaches students to work in small groups to coordinate the use of fourcomprehension strategies: prediction, clarification, summarization, andstudent-generated questions.
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