Cand.polit. Ola Johan Sjøbakken's dissertation for the degree of Ph.D..
Avhandlingens tittel er:
An action research study of regular, formalized teacher-pupil dialogues.
By utilising action research as a means of studying teacher practice and reflection this research seeks to provide new knowledge of regular, formalized teacher-pupil dialogues. Two research questions have been posed. First, what is the importance of pupil feedback in regular, formalized teacher-pupil dialogues? is based on international research on feedback and is grounded in an alternative approach to the analysis of teachers' assessment of feedback to promote student learning. The second: How can a research partnership in a longitudinal study provide knowledge of the regular, formalized teacher-pupil dialogue? is explored by drawing upon a theoretical and methodological approach to action research, the analysis of pupil plan books and letters from teachers.
The findings in this study are that the systematic teacher-pupil dialogue influences the teacher’s way of thinking; it leads to a greater awareness of adapted education, and provides insight into how the pupil conceptualises and structures his own knowledge. Teachers in this study described dilemmas such as lack of time, being squeezed between a focus on the subject and addressing the social needs of pupils, and the difficulties of carrying out the teacher-pupil dialogue. The study also reveals openness and uncertainty as part of the process of teacher feedback, and occasionally metaphors are drawn upon because language is insufficient in describing the various phenomena they encounter in their work with regular, formalized pupil conversations. On the other hand, they note the potential in the tool itself; for intimate conversations with the pupil and enhancing co-operation with the home. They don’t experience the formalized teacher-pupil dialogue as lacking in complexity. On the contrary, it represents a way of working that also includes uncomfortable choices and places significant demands on the individual. Despite different forms of practice, feedback is the single factor that takes up the most time and place in the dialogue. A new model is developed for the understanding of feedback as an alternative to the more established four-part typology of feedback: task, process, self-regulation and personal level. This is one of the study’s most important contributions.
It is longitudinal study where a group of teachers were followed over a period of in total three years, and the period in-between can be characterised as a form of self-motivated action research. The Government directives and national policy on systematic, regular dialogue in primary and secondary schooling have been in place from 2009, and the increasing focus upon feedback in international research and in national white papers, actualise the need for research on feedback and the formalized teacher-pupil dialogue. Hedmark University College and the Institute of Educational Research, University of Oslo have supported this research and the student has been registered as a doctoral student at the last mentioned institution.