“Trying out” needs agency and control

This post is test of some technology and an opportunity to save the following quote from (Solomon and Black, 2008)

In order to ‘try out’ new ways of thinking, we need to perceive ourselves as having some agency in or control over what we are doing. As long ago as 1976, Barnes identified a ‘performance climate’ in many classrooms (1976: 111) which detractce from such agency, creating a dynamic which disempowers pupils and prevents them from reflecting on their own thinking and pre-existing knowledge in order to relate new to old. The loss of collaboration with teachers in negotiating learning causes pupils to lok only for the answer that a teacher wants: ‘When a teacher assess what his pupils say he distances himself from their views, and allies himself with external standards which may implicitly devalue what the learner himself has constructed’ (1976: 111). In contrast, ‘when a teacher replies to his pupils, he is by implication taking their view of the subject seriously, even though he may wish to extend and modify it` (1976: 111): such interactions attribute a higher stats to the learners’ contributions, underlining their ownership of the learning that is going on. It is the dialogic quality of such interactions – questioning to invite surmise and the reorganisation of ideas, and (most importantly) collaborative discussion which picksup what is said and extends, modifies or even challenges it – that enables genuine construction of knowledge.

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