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Title: Using Dialogue to Connect Learning [DIAL-CONNECT]
Project type: SOCRATES / COMENIUS 2.1 - pilot project
Ref. no.: 118155-CP-1-2004-UK-COMENIUS-C21

 

Promoter/coordinator: Stranmillis University College, Belfast, UK
Duration: 3 years
Actual stage: finalised, with the Final Report under the evaluation of the European Commission
Total value of the Contract: 499727 Euros
Total value for the University of Pitesti:  58641Euros

 

Summary:
The focus of this project is on the use of dialogue and collaboration to construct knowledge and understanding and to connect learning minds. Research shows that schools tend to adopt a ‘transmission’ approach to teaching and a ‘banking’ concept of learning. Telling is not enough and many would argue that a shift is needed from focusing on ‘teaching’ to focusing on ‘learning’ and from ‘teacher responsibility’ to ‘learner responsibility.’ Wallace, 1996. Effective learners are those who have learnt how to learn and learnt how to know, are better able to connect their learning, and can transfer learning to different contexts.

This project adopts a social constructivist view of learning which places language at the heart of the learning process. Vygotsky, 1978, claimed that dialogue was not about the transmission of facts, but was more about the verbal interaction between the developing child and others considered more knowledgeable. Through dialogue, the developing child was moving towards the development of intellect and the higher cognitive processes. Research into the use of talk in classrooms shows that teacher talk predominates, a tendency reinforced by different Government’s emphases on league tables, performance indicators, and failing schools. We need to recognise that a focus on performance can depress performance, whereas a focus on learning can enhance learning and performance. Dweck, 2000. Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences encourages us to ask in what ways pupils are smart. The future requires young people who can think for themselves, make decisions, and handle uncertainty whilst remaining in control and remaining focused. Carnell and Lodge, 2002.

Stories will be used to provide a realistic everyday context for thinking and action. Pupils will be encouraged to problematize situations and see them as challenges that provide opportunities for creative and inventive activity. The context or problem needs to be related to real life, engage pupil imaginations and abilities, provide hands-on experience, and cause them to make links across different subject boundaries. In that way learning is real and co-operative, and provides opportunities for pupils to reflect on their own meta-cognitive learning processes. John Dewey, with his emphasis on reflective enquiry advocated such an approach to learning. The Dial:Connect project will be about pupils being actively engaged in their own learning, doing something for themselves, making hypotheses, taking initiative, considering alternatives, arguing and challenging ideas, and coming to some form of consensus and resolution.

Partnership:
1. Universitatea din Pitesti – RO
2. ANT??NIO S??RGIO TEACHERS CENTER – PT
3. University of Cyprus – CY
4. University of Umeå, Sweden – SE
5. N. Zahle’s College of Education – DK
6. In-Service Centre for Teacher Education – IE
7. University College Worcester – UK
8. The National Education Institute – SI
9. Educational Regional Research Institute - IT

 

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