Michaela Oliver: “Exploring and developing cultural reasoning in primary English”

In Students by jvnf65

  • Durham University
  • Education
  • michaela.oliver@durham.ac.uk

Description:

This project takes a novel approach to exploring teaching and learning of reasoning in primary education. It looks towards a socio-cultural framework, which describes reasoning as a cultural phenomenon, expanded from thinking to something which is played out in public as “talking, arguing and showing” (Hacking, 1992). The principle argument is that academic domains have developed “styles of reasoning” (Crombie, 1994, Hacking, 1992, 2012), which can be found as ways of arguing in debates and written texts, and which should be promoted in the school curriculum. Following a socio-cultural view of learning (Vygotsky, 1978), such styles of reasoning are internalised by the individual through cultural mediation in interpersonal communication. This suggests that the learning of cultural reasoning at school should happen in dialogic teaching (Alexander, 2004; Allott & Waugh, 2016; Mercer, 2009) based on structured discourse activities (Kind, Kind, Hofstein & Wilson, 2011). The project aims to identify styles of reasoning typical to the domain of English literature. An example of a possible style is the use of genre and generic conventions to support a reader’s conclusions/interpretations. Following analysis of the academic domain (published materials, lectures), consideration will extend to the primary English curriculum and associated end of Key Stage 2 assessment materials. This analysis will be used to describe key styles of reasoning identified as important within the academic and school-based English culture. and to develop and trial such activities for use in dialogic teaching in primary school English.