The Democratization of Talk: A Qualitative Study of Middle School English Language Arts Teachers' and Students' Narrations on the Equal Access of Accountable Talk
Martello, Nicole Elizabeth
MetadataShow full item record
Accountable Talk presents a learning opportunity unique to the aspects of speaking and listening across all educational areas. It provides students with the chance to engage in productive, meaningful conversations to critically think about the world. While Accountable Talk is an effective strategy used by many to meet the speaking and listening elements of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), there are a few areas where current teachers are struggling to maximize upon its efficiency. The intentional absence of certain students in whole group conversations limits the possibilities of collaborative learning. In order to better understand what is happening in Accountable Talk classrooms the perceptions of both teachers and students is essential. This paper examines teacher and student perspectives on Accountable Talk in an English Language Arts (ELA) classroom. Accountable Talk was explored in how it engages but also isolates students in ELA classrooms. This work clarifies the importance of the culmination of strong supportive classroom community. This paper not only discusses the impacts of Accountable Talk, but also includes teacher and student narrations of their perceptions through this process. Without a proper understanding of the classroom culture and implementation of accountability to the learning environment, students can begin to feel marginalized and isolated from the rest of their peers. This dissertation will highlight the findings of a study in which two middle school ELA teachers integrate Accountable Talk into their classroom and the steps they took before implementation. The data collection for this work occurred over a four month period during the 2014-2015 school year, involving observations, interviews, field notes and the gathering of essential artifacts, and followed the research tradition of a case study. The research also emulated that of a phenomenological study with an ethnographic scope. The analysis was informed by theories of social development, dialogism and ethics of care. Findings included the perceptions of one sixth grade and one-eighth grade classroom with both students and teachers involved in whole group Accountable Talk sessions. The findings also encompassed the perceptions of students who felt marginalized by their learning environment and other classroom peers during classroom discourse. The two classrooms offer two teachers with different teaching styles and philosophies, which affected their own perceptions of Accountable Talk and how to utilize it in their classrooms. One teacher undoubtedly had success because she previously established a strong learning community prior to the introduction of Accountable Talk. It was particularly clear in this study that Accountable Talk is a successful classroom discourse strategy that should be implemented to meet the speaking and listening state standards. However, there needs to be pre-established classroom rituals, routines and time invested in relationship building. While it is a state educational requirement to provide students with opportunities to develop speaking and listening abilities in collaborative learning communities, it is important to allow all members of the community that right.