Type M: A Structure for Absorbing Students in Learning: Seen from the Approach of Conversation Analysis

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  • Type M:「学ぶことに夢中になる経験の構造」に関する会話分析からのアプローチ


This article describes a practice in educational settings, which the author calls “type M” instruction, from the perspective of conversation analysis. The feature of this type is that a teacher asks students a question to which the students do not know the answer, but are not completely ignorant of the answer. When the teacher asks the students these questions, he or she creates a learning experience where “students search for a correct answer by themselves.”<BR>The paper examines this practice in three main stages.<BR>(1) First, data on real occurrences of type M instruction are shown. The data comes from a database of educational scenes recorded on a video for approximately seven hours, mainly from school education. From this database, the author intuitively collected examples where elementary school teachers were using type M instruction. Five examples of this type were extracted.<BR>(2) Second, characteristics common to the five scenes are extracted using the perspective of conversation analysis. Based on this, three characteristics, i. e., “reservation of instruction, ” “partial instruction” and “adjustment of degree of difficulty” were discovered in the turns of the teachers in those scenes. In other words, they displayed the following characteristics: “teachers do not teach students the correct answer, but provide hints to students” and “teachers lower the degree of difficulty of a question slowly while watching the reaction of students to the question.”<BR>(3) Third, the operation of type M instruction was inspected through an examination of irregular cases. The following knowledge was gained fromobservation of these data. If the degree of difficulty of the questions asked by the teacher is too low or too high given the state of knowledge of the students, it was found that type M did not operate effectively.<BR>With the three characteristics shown above, teachers seem to adjust the degree of difficulty of a question to a certain “level.” It is at this level that students carry out trial and error, and where they can barely give correct answers without assistance. When a teacher coordinates question at this level, students can try to find solutions to the problem independently. An important point for allowing type M instruction to operate successfully is to set the degree of difficulty of a question rather high and then lower it gradually while being attentive to the reactions of the students. This is because if the degree of difficulty is too low, the students will be able to answer it correctly immediately and there is no way to raise it, but if it is too high, there is an opportunity to lower the difficulty.


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