From dialogue to engagement to well-being: action research insights into teacher education seminars

Zerouak, Daniela (2023) From dialogue to engagement to well-being: action research insights into teacher education seminars. In: Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN) Annual Conference, 11-12 May 2023, Manchester, UK. (Unpublished)

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This small-scale action research acts on the calls for more inclusive and holistic higher education (Northedge, 2003, Hardman, 2021). It examines the use of dialogue and discussion in higher education seminars as a tool for increasing student engagement, focusing on answering the central research question: what effects, if any, does the application of dialogic approaches in seminars have on student engagement with their learning? The research is situated within the interpretivist paradigm, allowing me to gain insights into complex realities. Rather than testing a hypothesis, I was seeking to make sense of the situation and to begin identifying possible contributory factors, suggesting ways to further improve learning and teaching experiences. Hence, action research provided a suitable framework to explore and develop learning and teaching by integrating research and practice in action and through a change with others (Bradbury, 2015; Posch, 2019).

The study focuses on a group of second and third-year ITE undergraduate students predominantly from ethnic minority backgrounds and their learning experiences during the post-pandemic return to face-to-face study. An anonymous online survey consisted of five-point Likert scale questions based on Alexander’s (2017) principles of dialogic teaching, exploring engagement, relationships and inclusive practices, followed by two prompt questions to generate qualitative text data responses from students. This was compared with students’ summative data, and the standard module evaluations to provide additional insights. A reflective research diary was kept, allowing me to adapt further sessions to maximise students’ learning. The key theme generated from the data collected was termed ‘sense of belonging’ and included several elements such as relationships, subject knowledge, communication skills, and well-being.

The data indicate that dialogic teaching affects student experience at several levels: social, emotional, and personal. It supports them to form and re-form relationships, empowering them to take risks to contribute freely during seminars and consequently, improving the levels of engagement with their learning. The findings also indicate that dialogic practices positively impact well-being of students; however, the extent of the relationship between dialogic teaching practices and well-being in HE is yet to be established. Despite dialogic teaching practices positively impacting student engagement, the analysis suggests that they do not fully remove all barriers to learning and engagement. This presentation aims to provoke discussion around dialogic teaching practices, relationships, belonging, and well-being in higher education and how that might be harnessed to support a holistic view of higher education, providing better student experiences.

Key References
Alexander, R. J. (2017) Towards Dialogic Teaching: re-thinking classroom talk. 5 edn. York: Dialogos.
Bradbury, H. (2015) The SAGE handbook of action research. 3 edn. London: SAGE Publications.
Hardman, J. (2021) Pedagogical renewal: promoting a dialogic pedagogy in the internationalised 21st-century higher education, in Dippold, D. and Heron, M. (eds.) Meaningful Teaching Interaction at the Internationalised University: Moving from Research to Impact. London: Routledge pp. 25-38.
Northedge, A. (2003) Rethinking Teaching in the Context of Diversity, Teaching in Higher Education 8(1): 17-32.
Posch, P. (2019) Action research – conceptual distinctions and confronting the theory–practice divide in Lesson and Learning Studies, Educational Action Research 27(4): 496-510.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Education > Initial Teacher Education
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 25 May 2023 10:20
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 15:00


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