Assessed, student-led dialogic interaction: a Bakhtinian analysis of a case study of undergraduate history seminars

Bentley, Sarah (Sally) Ann (2010) Assessed, student-led dialogic interaction: a Bakhtinian analysis of a case study of undergraduate history seminars. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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A Bakhtinian theoretical framework throws fresh light on higher education assessment, dialogue and classroom dynamics, demonstrating that assessed, student-led seminars can have a powerfully positive effect on student learning.

The case study comprised of a well-established programme of seminars in a university history department. These seminars, which are regarded as innovative, have three distinctive features: they are assessed; they contain dialogic interaction; and they are student-led. This qualitative study investigating the effects of the seminars on student learning employed interviews with tutors and students, and observations of seminars. A holistic picture has been created which takes account of the socio-ideological context of the seminars, the socio-linguistic structures which constituted the actual interaction and the participants’ perspectives.

A Bakhtinian analysis was applied to empirical data and revealed that it is when three conditions are in place that the potential for dialogic learning is enhanced. Firstly, assessment directs students’ activity amplifying their learning experience. Secondly, the use of different types of dialogue enables students to assimilate new ideas. Thirdly, through peer facilitation and leadership of the seminars, along with other structuring devices, the power dynamics of the classes remain open and fluid and the tutor is prevented from unwittingly suppressing active student involvement.

In these conditions, it is argued, students are able to engage actively with the material in-hand resulting in a richer learning experience.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Mclean, M.
Murphy, R.J.L.
Keywords: higher education, pedagogy, teaching and learning seminars, Bakhtin, presentations, assessment, dialogue, student-led discussion, history
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 11256
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2010 13:05
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 11:44

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