Channelling low progress: co-constructive processes in literacy development

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dc.contributor.advisor McNaughton, Stuart en
dc.contributor.author Kempton, Margaret (Margaret Louise) en
dc.date.accessioned 2007-08-04T09:01:53Z en
dc.date.available 2007-08-04T09:01:53Z en
dc.date.issued 2004 en
dc.identifier THESIS 05-332 en
dc.identifier.citation Thesis (PhD--Education)--University of Auckland, 2004 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/1234 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This thesis describes a piece of research that aimed to understand in developmental terms the social processes involved in the production of low progress literacy learners. The research locates itself both locally and internationally in work that highlights the co-constructed nature of literacy learning, providing an analysis not only of the ways in which social contexts are implicated in an individual’s cognitive development, but also of the ways in which individuals actively participate in the construction of that development. The thesis reviews research that considers the "kaleidoscopic" (Flower, 1994, p.9) nature of literacy and literacy learning. This research review critically explores the ways in which literacy and literacies are co-constructed in both community and institutional settings. Multiple explanations for what might generally be described as a "failure to thrive" by some students in educational settings are examined and descriptive and theoretical accounts that include explanations using concepts of deficit, differential treatment, mismatch, resistance and the co-construction of underachievement or mutually constructed low progress are examined. The empirical work was conducted within a secondary school, focusing on one Year 10 class. The focus of the work is the microgenetic (that is temporally brief but psychologically meaningful), interactions between teachers and students and the development of a fine grained analysis of these interactions. This close analysis was seen as extending others' large-scale work, which has shown clearly the existence of differential experiences for good and poor readers and writers across the primary school (Glasswell, 1999, Stanovich, 1986). A model was developed which became both a framework for analysis and a tool for modelling how the Processes involved in the co-construction of low progress work. The dynamic nature of the components of the process is modelled at a number of sites and across levels. A significant contribution of the model is the capacity to foreground the activity between the teacher and students and focus on the way in which development is channelled or constrained at a microgenetic level in some instances. The model also allows for the foregrounding of larger issues of curriculum and types of tasks set, as well as an examination of the beliefs and views of teachers and students. The shift in the focus of analysis is utilised to illuminate aspects of the phenomena without artificial separation of the actors from the environment or vice versa and to try as much as possible to utilise a unit of analysis which preserves the workings of the larger phenomena (Rogoff, 1995, and Rogoff, Topping, Baker-Sennett, and Lacasa, 2002). By plotting instantiation repeatedly across sites and levels, a persistent and generalisable process is demonstrated. This generalisable process is described as a default mechanism which shapes teachers' and students' interactions. The "default" concept along with the notion of channelling or constraining of development (Valsiner, 1987,1997) are the central concepts used in the model that examines the causes, features, and possibilities for change within the literacy learning and classroom phenomena observed. The thesis demonstrates the way this phenomenon weaves through the school, class and curriculum. Default mechanisms are shown to operate when the mature task is broken down into components, whole tasks are broken down into "parts" or "molecularised." Classroom activities are negotiated and renegotiated by teachers and students and the interpretation of the descriptions of these classroom activities shows three dimensions through which this default process is achieved. These dimensions are described as Task, Pedagogy and Control or Regulation. In terms of pedagogy, default occurs when the teacher's explanation of an activity or task becomes demonstration (often of components of the task). Default in terms of control or regulation is described, as the co-construction of over regulation, where there is a shift from joint construction of the activity to over-regulation by the teacher, which has been jointly constructed by teacher and student. A unique format was developed for presentation of the research findings within the conceptual model developed, this combines evidence and examples of data from a number of sources, including interviews with teachers and students, analysis of transcripts of videotaped classroom lessons, the products of lessons such as writing, posters, together with the artefacts used in lessons by teachers, such as worksheets, task sheets and background reading, as well as curriculum statements and interviews with school management and support staff. Ten sites were selected as providing evidence of the generalised existence of this phenomena in multiple forms across the classroom and school. While the thesis draws on a variety of sources of data and from a large quantity of descriptions, its strength lies in the careful analysis of some telling illustrative pieces. These are presented along with interpretation of the processes at work to outline the consistency in processes and messages across both teachers and curricula. The search for counter instances to the general pattern is discussed. While in practice, the dropping of levels or molecularising across three dimensions (Task, Pedagogy and Control) occur simultaneously and recurrently, they are dissected further and the question posed is why does this default occur? What is unique in this thesis is an analysis framed theoretically around the notions of channelling or constraining of both actions and understandings (Valsiner, 1987, 1997a). A major claim of the work is that both teachers and students work together to produce the problem of low progress. The analysis allows a description of the co-construction of the phenomena observed and recognition that behaviours are channelled or constrained not only by teachers' understandings about Task, Pedagogy and Control in the classroom, but the students understandings as well. These understandings are both expressed and constructed in classroom interactions, and are implicated in the forms of expertise that develop. The theoretical perspective utilised and extended in the present study, emphasizes the systemic nature of human development and maintains that all human beings (teachers, students) as well communities and social groups (schools, societies) are continuously developing dynamic systems (Valsiner, 1997a,). A primary goal of this study was the work of theory building and the systemic analysis carried out leads to a prediction that change will require intervention at "multiple sites" within the developmental system (Glasswell, 1999, Glasswell, Parr and McNaughton, 2003). The explanatory power of the notion of "mismatch" in particular is explored. It is argued that with secondary age students we are seeing the product of not only home-school mismatch but also of repeated school-based interactions that have contributed to personal systems for learning and development that can hardly be attributed solely to home contexts. The present work points to the need to look for competence or the ability to achieve learning outcomes in the person-environment relationship, not just in individuals (Valsiner, 1997a). Schools and teachers need to think about the historical contribution of schools, teachers and classroom settings to students' current levels of ability and understandings. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99150447614002091 en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Channelling low progress: co-constructive processes in literacy development en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Education en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en


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