Research on individual pupil-teacher dialogues
Research group “Learning, mastery and quality of life for children at risk” is conducting an overall comprehensive survey as a part of a project “Individual pupil-teacher dialogues”.
Formal dialogues have been obligatory in high schools for a long time, and from 2009 they are also obligatory in primary schools. Well prepared dialogues can be significant in defining development of children and youth as well as their desire to learn and confidence. Moreover, it can be a valuable tool for teachers to get to know their students and adapt teaching style to the needs of students.
The survey will identify students' and teachers' experiences with formal pupil-teacher dialogues and spontaneous informal conversations. Pupils and their tutors were asked to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire about: How often do formal dialogues occur and how widespread are spontaneous conversations; What issues are addressed and how can quality and usefulness of the dialogues be assessed. Data collection is nearly over. The research group will collect approximately 6,000 student forms, and about 500 teacher forms. There have been 25 schools (13 secondary schools and 12 high schools) in four counties around Oslo (Østfold, Vestfold, Buskerud and Akershus) that agreed to participate in the study. The sample is differentiated by city and small town, small and large schools; and when high schools are concerned – those with different study programs.
The value of dialogues
The research group is mostly concerned with children at risk. Therefore, several questions about external and internal difficulties that can interfere with the learning process have been added to the questionnaire. The pilot study that was conducted in several secondary schools, has shown that children with such difficulties benefit less from the dialogues. Moreover, the quality of such conversation is poorer for them (the study resulted in an article, which can be found in the anniversary issue of Spesialpedagogikk). The results of the present study will show if the same is correct for high schools and a higher number of secondary schools. In addition, some categories will be compared, such as pupils’ and teachers’ experiences, secondary and high schools, vocational and academic programs, urban and rural location, small schools and larger schools etc. Furthermore, the study will identify factors that influence the quality of teacher-pupil dialogues.
The results of the study will be relevant to tutors, newly graduates and experienced teachers who can use them to get the best out of conversations with their students.