Knowledge disagreement formulations in problem-based learning tutorials: balancing pedagogical demands with 'saving face'

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Abstract

As a pedagogical approach that aims to develop students' group-working skills and to challenge their current knowledge, problem-based learning (PBL) provides a unique setting in which to examine disagreements in interaction. Previous research on disagreements in classrooms have typically examined tutor-student interaction or student-student interaction in which a tutor is present. The current paper, however, examines tutorless PBL tutorials and focuses specifically on those moments in which knowledge claims are challenged by other students. The data comprise of 30 hours of video recordings from 24 chemical engineering PBL tutorials in a Scottish university. Conversation analysis was used to identify 101 disagreement formulations, many of which follow the format seen in other classroom settings (e.g. agreement-prefaced disagreements). A subset of disagreement formulations manage epistemic responsibility through invoking expert sources (e.g. tutor-provided worksheets and academically superior out-group members). Through invoking an expert source in this way, students attend to the pedagogical activities - without tutor assistance - while minimising the conversational trouble associated with the act of 'doing' disagreement (i.e. indirectly enacting disagreements whilst maintaining a neutral stance). This paper thus contributes to CA literature on disagreements, while providing a unique insight into PBL tutorial interaction. Directions for future research are suggested.
LanguageEnglish
Pages227-243
Number of pages17
JournalClassroom Discourse
Volume9
Issue number3
Early online date16 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018

Fingerprint

tutor
learning
student
interaction
expert
classroom
conversation analysis
video recording
outgroup
working group
group membership
assistance
engineering
responsibility
university
knowledge

Keywords

  • conversation analysis
  • student interaction
  • tutorial based learning
  • problem-based learning
  • disagreements
  • groupwork
  • teamwork

Cite this

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abstract = "As a pedagogical approach that aims to develop students' group-working skills and to challenge their current knowledge, problem-based learning (PBL) provides a unique setting in which to examine disagreements in interaction. Previous research on disagreements in classrooms have typically examined tutor-student interaction or student-student interaction in which a tutor is present. The current paper, however, examines tutorless PBL tutorials and focuses specifically on those moments in which knowledge claims are challenged by other students. The data comprise of 30 hours of video recordings from 24 chemical engineering PBL tutorials in a Scottish university. Conversation analysis was used to identify 101 disagreement formulations, many of which follow the format seen in other classroom settings (e.g. agreement-prefaced disagreements). A subset of disagreement formulations manage epistemic responsibility through invoking expert sources (e.g. tutor-provided worksheets and academically superior out-group members). Through invoking an expert source in this way, students attend to the pedagogical activities - without tutor assistance - while minimising the conversational trouble associated with the act of 'doing' disagreement (i.e. indirectly enacting disagreements whilst maintaining a neutral stance). This paper thus contributes to CA literature on disagreements, while providing a unique insight into PBL tutorial interaction. Directions for future research are suggested.",
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