Writing work as social practice: examining instructional conversations within a Reading Recovery® lesson

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Paterson, Marnie Leigh
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Framed by Social Constructivist theories of learning, this project employed a descriptive case study approach to investigate the types of social and verbal interactions that occurred as four Reading Recovery teachers worked with their respective students to devise and record a brief message during the 10-12 minute writing section of a Reading Recovery lesson. Data was collected over a period of two months and each teacher was observed working with the same student on two separate occasions. The conversations that transpired were audiotaped and transcribed and the cognitive and affective dimensions of the teachers’ communications were specifically examined. Findings indicate that effective teaching interactions more often arose when the teachers continually endeavored to understand the meanings behind their students’ words and actions. When teachers considered their students’ perspectives, when they gave them cognitive space to think, speak, and act, and when they designed literacy activities that centered on children’s demonstrated understandings, they ensured their students’ continued motivation thereby fostering cognitive development.
Social Constructivist Theory, "Teacher-talk", cognitive and affective dimensions of learning, Reading Recovery, Writing, descriptive case study