Disengaged students and dialogic learning: the role of CSCL affordances

  • Benzi Slakmon
  • Baruch B. Schwarz


Only a few studies have dealt with the challenge of bridging the linguistic gap between the dialogic realm and the talk of disengaged students. Bridging this gap is particularly relevant to the CSCL community since one of its utmost aims is to promote the dialogic. This study aims to articulate how to harness the CSCL design and affordances to enhance dialogic pedagogy with disengaged students. Using temporal analysis of philosophical discussions for children, we focus on three disengaged 8th grade students participating in successive discussions mediated by a CSCL tool (Argunaut), and follow the way they talk with their peers in the classroom. The study shows the gradual emergence of the dialogic among those students. We describe the transition of their talk moves, from initially reproducing the way they talk to adopting dialogical norms. To explain this we conceptualize the notion of carriers of discursive norms and discuss its transformative role in dialogue. The dialogic transition was made possible by the pedagogical design and the design of the CSCL tools. These affordances allowed the students change the meaning of the conversational building blocks of space, silence, addressee, and the ethics of talk.


Disengaged students Dialogic pedagogy Technology affordances Discursive norms Philosophy for children Voice 



We would like to thank the four anonymous reviewers for their supportive and in-depth comments. The first author would like to thank his colleagues in the ‘Chevruta’ research group. We wish to thank Rotem Abdu, Dani Ben-Zvi, Gerry Stahl, and Rupert Wegerif, for their helpful comments on drafts of this paper. We wish to thank the staff at the school in which the study was developed and conducted, especially to Shai Melamed, Avi Ben-Moshe, Yfat Gal, Yossefa Elkabetz, Niva Barda, Gila Ben-Yossef, Yafit Shriki-Megidish, Sara Brom, Tami Liani, Dr. Avi Golan, and Michal Franco-Dvash. The first author is also indebted to the Mandel Leadership Institute for providing the ideal context for writing this paper. Finally, we wish to deeply thank our students.


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc. and Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mandel Educational Leadership InstituteThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.School of EducationThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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