Implementing dialogic instruction in middle school ELA: A year on the island
MetadataShow full item record
Presently education stands on the threshold of change. Dissatisfaction with how the current system's emphasis on standardized testing results has developed a culture of "teaching to the test"-especially in low socio-economic status districts- has provoked an outcry from administrators, teachers, and parents that can no longer be ignored. This ethnographic study examines what happened when one urban middle school English teacher actively worked against "teaching to the test" by planning and implementing dialogic units of study. Utilizing information from observations, field notes, videotaped lessons, interviews, and artifacts, the impact of the implementation of this type of instruction is examined from the perspective of the focal teacher, four focal students and members of the teacher's grade level team. Critical incidents, representative of the development of the new roles required of the teacher and students engaged in dialogic instruction, are presented in detail within the framework of the year's activities. Evidence of how an educator, rooted in theories supporting social justice, pushed back against the current call for educational change that positions teachers as "high level technicians," (Giroux, 1985) is presented. Set within the context of an urban district which favors more traditional pedagogy, and working within increasingly complex state mandates, this is the story of an educator who worked tirelessly to "make students feel good about who they are through learning" (Dean, 2012) and include them as co-constructors of a classroom where their voices could be heard. Key words: standardized testing, dialogic instruction.