Signing and Singing : Children in Teaching Dialogues
Abstract: The dissertation examines children’s dialogical sense-making in task-oriented teaching activities, the aim of which is to explore children’s values and ideas in musical learning, in order to investigate how musical knowledge is constructed collaboratively through different levels of dialogicality. Hence, the study addresses the organizational resources and values at stake when children take part in pedagogical dialogues. The four children studied are allocated the pre-given task of instructing each other, without the presence of adults, to sing songs in dyads (two and two). Five singing activities are video-documented, transcribed and analysed in depth through dialogical activity analysis, and group interviews with the children in pairs are also conducted, transcribed and analysed. A sociocultural perspective on learning and communication with an approach based on dialogue theory forms the analytical point of departure for the study, where constitutive relations between the mediating acts of the participants and the resources in use – in the shape of discourses, cultural tools, representations, interaction orders, activity frames and values – are focused upon, and where teaching and learning are viewed as primarily communicative activities, and where learning as a purely individual process is dismissed. The practice of musical teaching is seen to be an embodied and materialized practice, even though the young practitioners taking part in the study displayed different knowledge ideals, as well as different educational strategies, throughout the instructional phases of activity. In other words, they emphasized that there was a distinction between learning the songs and knowing the songs. The participants also used signing and singing with the help of artefacts, words and their bodies in a number of multi-functional, multi-semiotic and subtle ways. Moreover, the children organized their activities as traditional classroom teaching in several ways, and displayed skills in schooling as practitioners of a social practice. Accordingly, they established a school-specific task culture that took the form of a communicative activity type, where their orientation to double dialogicality, that is, the dialogue of the culturally established dimension on the one hand, and the interpersonal, local context on the other, is of significance.
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