Transformative Interactions Beyond The Classroom: Impact Of Dialogic Literary Gatherings On Primary Children And Their Families In The Basque Country
Decades of research grounded on sociocultural theory have proven that human learning capability grows through shared learning, interaction and communication (Alexander, 2004; Mercer, 1995; Purcell-Gates, Melzi, Najafi & Orellana, 2011, Resnick, Asterhan & Clarke, 2015; Wells & Mejía Arauz, 2006). Therefore, classrooms and schools should be transformed according to that scientific evidence, and becoming more dialogic and interactive. In this paper we analyse Dialogic Literary Gatherings (DLGs here after), one type of dialogic and interactive classroom organization consisting on debating around works of classical universal literature that has resulted in improving students’ performance and social competence (Flecha, 2015). DLGs are being implemented in more than 200 schools in Spain, most of which are Learning Communities. Nonetheless, the specific cognitive and social benefits in young children of participating in a whole class setting reading classical literature remain unexplored. Our main aim was to unveil the impact of this particular intervention, which entails a particular dialogic procedure to access and enjoy classic texts, has not only on pupils’ performance -improving literacy skills and mathematical competence- but also on improving children’s prosocial behavior. For this purpose, we conducted a quasi-experimental study in three primary schools in the Basque Country, where DLG started to be implemented in the 2015-2016 academic year. We have also collected and analysed qualitative data –interviews with children, teachers and parents- to examine in depth the impact of DLGs on child-parents interactions at home. Preliminary results indicate DLGs use dialogism (Bakhtin, 1986) to include pupils’ out-of-school knowledge in the classroom, thus enriching the debates, enhancing comprehension of the texts and stablishing connections between literature and life. Simultaneously, DLGs create new opportunities for transforming child-parents interactions at home where they engage in learning conversations stimulated by the participation on DLGs. These results have implications for creating learning environments that can enhance the social impact of educational research by providing evidence on the transferability of such dialogic and inclusive strategies to new contexts.
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