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Classroom Discourse and Democracy: Making Meanings Together
     

Classroom Discourse and Democracy: Making Meanings Together

by Susan Jean Mayer
 

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This book provides practitioners and scholars with a number of practical tools for studying and implementing democratic learning processes within schools, and theorizes these tools in relation to current developmental learning and democratic theory. Three dimensions of knowledge are framed?foundational, expert, and personal?and the place of each in the construction

Overview

This book provides practitioners and scholars with a number of practical tools for studying and implementing democratic learning processes within schools, and theorizes these tools in relation to current developmental learning and democratic theory. Three dimensions of knowledge are framed?foundational, expert, and personal?and the place of each in the construction of democratic classroom understandings is explored. Based on a two-part analysis of the roles students played in a number of pedagogically diverse classroom discussions, three different forms of learning experience are then presented?teacher-led, student-led, and co-led learning. While all three forms of learning experience are seen as valuable to a fully realized democratic pedagogy, each form is shown to possess a distinctive set of affordances and constraints in relation to the many varied challenges involved in fostering children?s academic growth and learning.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«Susan Jean Mayer has managed to distill a vast and complex literature into accessible, even economical, prose. It couldn’t be clearer that teaching is attending to ‘what and how a person knows’ (as Mayer explains), that intellectual authority is established not bureaucratically through protocols, but intersubjectively, grounded in social-psychological knowledge. Brilliant and clear as a bell, this book is, as Mayer describes great teaching, ‘meaningful, powerful, and transparent’.» (William F. Pinar, Canada Research Chair, University of British Columbia)
«Susan Jean Mayer has given us a timely and elegant book […] Mayer cleanly separates the chaff of a host of reductive, hierarchical, pseudo-scientific education policy prescriptions from the wheat of the human relationships, imbued with desire and need, claims and counter-claims for voice and attention, and the call to understanding, which comprise teaching. […] This lucid, grounded, well-argued book gives us a chance to re-orient our policy debates. It does this in part by teaching us about teaching and learning in the real world. It is at once deeply informed by good classroom practice and deeply informative about good classroom practice. It is a model of an especially attractive form of research: Rigorously empirical but with its head well above the sand, in quest of understandings that matter. Never polemical, it is animated by a deep, even a fierce, sense of urgency, as we may all now find ourselves to be.» (Dirck Roosevelt, Associate Professor of Education; Director, Master of Arts in Teaching Program, Brandeis University)
«This is an important book. It draws on both Piagetian and Vygotskian traditions and provides an original synthesis that will be of value to a wide range of readers. If ever there was a moment to enhance discussions of classroom discourse and democracy it is now!» (Harry Daniels, Professor, Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research, Department of Education, University of Bath)
«Whether one’s interest is in the broader realm of philosophy of education, in the micro world of utterance-level meaning, or at the frustrating intersection of the theoretical, empirical, and applied study of learning through discussion, this book will be of value. My own encounters with Susan Jean Mayer’s superb and learned writing, and with her informed commitment to democratic education, have been of great value in my own work. I want to express profound gratitude to her and to the publisher for making this work available to all of us who continue to puzzle over classroom discussion and its potential.» (From the Foreword by Catherine O’Connor, Professor and Chair of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Counseling, Boston University)

«Susan Jean Mayer has managed to distill a vast and complex literature into accessible, even economical, prose. It couldn’t be clearer that teaching is attending to ‘what and how a person knows’ (as Mayer explains), that intellectual authority is established not bureaucratically through protocols, but intersubjectively, grounded in social-psychological knowledge. Brilliant and clear as a bell, this book is, as Mayer describes great teaching, ‘meaningful, powerful, and transparent’.» (William F. Pinar, Canada Research Chair, University of British Columbia)
«Susan Jean Mayer has given us a timely and elegant book […] Mayer cleanly separates the chaff of a host of reductive, hierarchical, pseudo-scientific education policy prescriptions from the wheat of the human relationships, imbued with desire and need, claims and counter-claims for voice and attention, and the call to understanding, which comprise teaching. […] This lucid, grounded, well-argued book gives us a chance to re-orient our policy debates. It does this in part by teaching us about teaching and learning in the real world. It is at once deeply informed by good classroom practice and deeply informative about good classroom practice. It is a model of an especially attractive form of research: Rigorously empirical but with its head well above the sand, in quest of understandings that matter. Never polemical, it is animated by a deep, even a fierce, sense of urgency, as we may all now find ourselves to be.» (Dirck Roosevelt, Associate Professor of Education; Director, Master of Arts in Teaching Program, Brandeis University)
«This is an important book. It draws on both Piagetian and Vygotskian traditions and provides an original synthesis that will be of value to a wide range of readers. If ever there was a moment to enhance discussions of classroom discourse and democracy it is now!» (Harry Daniels, Professor, Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research, Department of Education, University of Bath)
«Whether one’s interest is in the broader realm of philosophy of education, in the micro world of utterance-level meaning, or at the frustrating intersection of the theoretical, empirical, and applied study of learning through discussion, this book will be of value. My own encounters with Susan Jean Mayer’s superb and learned writing, and with her informed commitment to democratic education, have been of great value in my own work. I want to express profound gratitude to her and to the publisher for making this work available to all of us who continue to puzzle over classroom discussion and its potential.» (From the Foreword by Catherine O’Connor, Professor and Chair of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Counseling, Boston University)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433112850
Publisher:
Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Publication date:
02/08/2012
Series:
Educational Psychology Series: Critical Pedagogical Perspectives
Pages:
211
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet the Author

Susan Jean Mayer received her doctorate in education from Harvard University and currently lectures at Brandeis and Northeastern Universities. Her published articles have treated a range of issues related to democratic PK?12 practice and social science methods. Mayer is managing editor of the Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies and founding vice-president of the non-profit Critical Explorers, which conducts inquiry-based curricular research and design residencies within urban middle schools (criticalexplorers.org).

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