Students’ everyday knowledge and experiences as resources in educational dialogues

Abstract

In this article, I analyze teachers’ use of students’ everyday knowledge and experiences as resources for learning in educational dialogues. By analyzing video data of teachers’ attempts to contextualize instruction in naturalistic settings in a lower secondary school, I examine how teachers use such resources to support and guide student learning. By employing a situated approach to learning, I provide a turn-by-turn analysis of how teachers use students’ everyday knowledge as resources to socially construct knowledge when working with academic subject matter. The concepts of intercontextuality and positioning function as analytical tools that enable an analysis of the relationships between the use of everyday experiences and the social organization of participation during teachers’ instructional work. The findings show that attempts at contextualizing instruction were identified in many of the lessons. The findings also document that teachers face both challenges and opportunities when contextualizing instruction. A turn-by-turn analysis shows that the function of everyday experiences in educational dialogues depends on how such resources are mobilized, how they are brought into the conversations, as well as the roles assigned to students in the dialogues. In the article, issues contributing to the productive use of everyday resources in educational dialogues are displayed and discussed.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the teacher and students who have opened up their classrooms and given me the opportunity to be part of their everyday practices in school, and to learn about how students and teachers talk and construct meaning and learning together. I would also like to thank Anniken Furberg, Magnus Hontvedt, Rolf Steier for valuable comments on earlier drafts, and the anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions. Thanks to Karina Rose Mahan for support when I worked on translating the extracts from Norwegian to English. This work is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (the PRAKUT programme, grant number 218262).

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Correspondence to Kenneth Silseth.

Appendix: transcription conventions

Appendix: transcription conventions

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Silseth, K. Students’ everyday knowledge and experiences as resources in educational dialogues. Instr Sci 46, 291–313 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-017-9429-x

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Keywords

  • Contextualizing instruction
  • Everyday knowledge
  • Intercontextuality
  • Positioning
  • Interaction analysis
  • Sociocultural theory
  • Educational dialogue