Cand.paed.spec. Randi Myklebust
Talk in the Multilingual Classroom. A study of students' talk in Norwegian in five peer groups at the 7th grade of the primary school.
This thesis examines what characterises pupils’ talk during group work in social studies in the 7th grade of the primary school. Analyses of the talk have aimed to identify knowledge that is of relevance in understanding the significance of oral interaction both for learning, for pupils in general and in particular for pupils with a multilingual background.
The design of the research is characterised as a qualitative case study, consisting of five cases. There are sound recordings of all the oral activity that took place during the group work that represents the primary data of the project. The analytical approach to the transcriptions of the sound material is multi-dimensional, but uses talk topics to delineate analytical gateways. The study adopts a pluralistic perspective in relation to theory, but the talk are studied as tools for joint cognitive activity and as linguistic expressions of how the pupils handle elements of knowledge and experiences that they interpret and comprehend individually in different ways.
The study’s design and its method and theoretical approach have provided access to a pupils’ world that is normally inaccessible. One feature of this world was the loyalty of the pupils with respect to the teacher’s expectations of how the group work would be accomplished. The oral interaction mainly revolved around the teaching task, and the fellowship sought democratic solutions and showed respect for everyone’s participation. Another feature was the lack of social scientific content in the oral intercommunication. The joint focus on academic details was meagre, whereas the individual responsibility for finding solutions to the task was significant. This situation proved to be unfortunate both socially and academically for, among others, those pupils who were in the process of learning Norwegian. Interpretation and discussion of the findings pursue three directions towards an understanding of the pupils’ talk: the context, the learning fellowship and the multilingual pupils as a differentiated group.