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Title:The power of children's dialogue: Taiwanese students' peer-led literature discussion
Author(s):Chang, Chia-Chun
Director of Research:McCarthey, Sarah J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Willis, Arlette I.; Moller, Karla J.; Gaffney, Janet S.
Department / Program:Curriculum & Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):peer-led literature discussion
classroom discourse
reading education
Abstract:This study built on previous research in the area of peer-led literature discussion. Even though there are numerous studies investigating this type of literacy activity, little is known about Taiwanese elementary students’ participation in peer-led literature discussion. This study explored a group of six Taiwanese fourth graders’ participation in peer-led literature discussion in an out-of-classroom context. Specifically, it examined (a) how the participants co-constructed meaning of texts, (b) how the participants interact with one another, (c) what problems the participants encountered, and (d) how the teacher-researcher facilitate the discussions. The study was conducted in the Shuang-Cheng Elementary school, Xindian, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Qualitative research method was adopted. Since this study attempted to explore and understand the reality of literature discussion led by the participants, data collection primarily focused on the participants’ conversation and interactions. Data sources included the researcher logs, the videotaped literature discussions, the participants’ notes, and the interviews with the participants. The data collection took place during an eighteen-week period. The participants entered this study with no prior experience with student-led literature discussion. Also, they were accustomed to obeying commands from people in positions of authority and seldom had opportunities to express their ideas in class. Findings of this study suggest that with preparatory instruction and the researcher’s facilitation, the participants were able to manage their discussions in which communication and interaction skills were needed, to resolve problems collaboratively with a variety of sources, and to apply reading comprehension strategies to interpret the selected texts. In the process of meaning negotiation, they shared different ways of thinking, listened to views of others, valued ideas different from their own, advocated their own beliefs, and showed an understanding of others’ perspectives. Within this discussion group, reading became a purposeful meaning-constructing activity in which they developed multiple interpretations, mediated understanding of social issues, and promoted reasoning skills. Even though peer-led literature discussion provided the participants with opportunities to express themselves and required them to take more responsibility for their own learning. Nevertheless, this study suggests that the participants face some challenges when moving from a teacher-directed structure to a more student-centered learning context. The transition to a student-directed discussion format is not easy. The study reported here offers a look at how I, as a facilitator, prepared the participants for the discussions and what continual support I offered when they operated their own discussions.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Rights Information:Copy right 2011 Chia-Chun Chang
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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