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Twenty Questions about Cogenerative Dialogues

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Abstract

The chapter explores 20 central questions that relate to the development and use of cogenerative dialogue as a means of improving the quality of teaching and learning, getting to know the culture of others in a classroom, and establishing a place for the practice of critical pedagogy. I describe how cogenerative dialogue originated from an effort to use students from high school classrooms to assist their teachers to “better teach kids like me.” These initial conversations about practice were focused on identifying contradictions and creating ways to change the classroom in an endeavor to remove contradictions. We then realized that conversations such as these could provide for the development of shared responsibility for what happens in the classroom. We also noticed that students spoke eloquently in cogenerative dialogues, listened attentively to one another, and focused on successfully interacting with others. Nowadays, cogenerative dialogue is used in interpretive inquiry as a research method that gives voice to students and allows for differences to be identified and explored in an effort to improve the quality of learning in schools. When I first came to the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) from Florida State University (FSU) there was a project just about to start. The main idea was to get two students from each class to advise new teachers after each lesson on how to “better teach kids like me.” The students would meet with the new teachers soon after the lesson and in a discussion the new teachers would listen and ask questions and the high school students would be positioned as experts. I was enthusiastic about supporting this project because Stephen Ritchie and I had used a high school student as a researcher in a study we had done while Steve was on a sabbatical leave at FSU. After one year of having students involved as coaches for new teachers we decided it was more important to have conversations in which new teachers and students would share the turns at talk and the types of talk. This was the beginning of cogenerative dialogue (hereafter cogen). When we started to use coteaching as the primary means for learning to teach we also began to use the term cogen for the conversations about shared experiences from a lesson.
K. Tobin et al., (Eds.), Transforming Urban Education, 181–190.
© 2014 Sense Publishers. All rights reserved.
KENNETH TOBIN
11. TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT COGENERATIVE
DIALOGUES
Abstract The chapter explores 20 central questions that relate to the development
and use of cogenerative dialogue as a means of improving the quality of teaching
and learning, getting to know the culture of others in a classroom, and establishing
a place for the practice of critical pedagogy. I describe how cogenerative
dialogue originated from an effort to use students from high school classrooms
to assist their teachers to “better teach kids like me.” These initial conversations
about practice were focused on identifying contradictions and creating ways to
change the classroom in an endeavor to remove contradictions. We then realized
that conversations such as these could provide for the development of shared
responsibility for what happens in the classroom. We also noticed that students
spoke eloquently in cogenerative dialogues, listened attentively to one another, and
focused on successfully interacting with others. Nowadays, cogenerative dialogue
is used in interpretive inquiry as a research method that gives voice to students
and allows for differences to be identified and explored in an effort to improve the
quality of learning in schools.
When I first came to the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) from Florida State
University (FSU) there was a project just about to start. The main idea was to get
two students from each class to advise new teachers after each lesson on how to
“better teach kids like me.” The students would meet with the new teachers soon
after the lesson and in a discussion the new teachers would listen and ask questions
and the high school students would be positioned as experts. I was enthusiastic
about supporting this project because Stephen Ritchie and I had used a high school
student as a researcher in a study we had done while Steve was on a sabbatical leave
at FSU.
After one year of having students involved as coaches for new teachers we
decided it was more important to have conversations in which new teachers and
students would share the turns at talk and the types of talk. This was the beginning
of cogenerative dialogue (hereafter cogen). When we started to use coteaching as
the primary means for learning to teach we also began to use the term cogen for the
conversations about shared experiences from a lesson.
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K. TOBIN
182
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question 1: What is cogen?
Answer 1: Cogens are reflective conversations among selected participants. One of
the key purposes of cogen is to identify contradictions that might be changed with
the goal of improving the quality of teaching and learning – that is, cogen is part of
a process of critical pedagogy. As such all participants in cogen are encouraged to
speak their minds, identify specific examples to illustrate where improvements can
be made, and also identify examples of exemplary practices or counter examples of
those that exemplify a need to change. It is imperative that all participants speak and
are heard. Hence, it is important to encourage respectful interactions where those
who speak are listened to, all participants make an effort to address points that arise,
and those who are silent are invited to participate. As part of the rule structure for
cogens we emphasize that the turns at talk and time for talking should be shared
among participants and any speaker should not speak continuously for too long.
The efforts of others to get involved should be honored. Also, points that arise in
discussion should be noted and, when actions are required, the group should come to
an agreement on what is to be done and accept responsibility for enacting agreed to
changes in the classroom. For example, if there is agreement that the teacher will ask
fewer questions during science lessons, then all participants in the cogen, including
the teacher, would have a responsibility to ensure that this happens. It is not left
only to the teacher to ask fewer questions – students can provide feedback on the
frequency of questioning and cue the teacher appropriately.
Question 2: How is cogen usually set up?
Answer 2: When cogen is used for the purposes of critical pedagogy, that is to make
classroom learning environments more equitable, the number of participants is often
four to five. For example, early on a teacher might set up cogen to consist of the
teacher and three students. Usually students would be selected to be as different
from one another as possible. By emphasizing diversity an assumption is that social
life is polysemic and is experienced differently by participants who are positioned
differently in social space. Hence, different perspectives are encouraged and efforts
are made for all participants in cogen to understand these differences and learn from
them. Often times differences in the ways individuals in a cogen identify and explain
shared experiences will be contradictory and different descriptions can become a
focus for discussion and change.
Question 3: Why did you use the term cogen?
Answer 3: The meaning of co- in cogen is together. We wanted to use a term that
would communicate that participants would talk about shared experiences and in
the process collaborate (i.e., work together) to produce shared understandings and
outcomes. We wanted to be certain that outcomes were generated from each session
and we established a rule to increase the chances this would happen –someone
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TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT COGENERATIVE DIALOGUES
183
would ask at the end of a cogen: “What did we cogenerate today?” Wolff-Michael
Roth suggested we call the activity cogen. We were using a rather cumbersome
name for what was happening – praxeological sessions – meaning talk about praxis.
Neither the new teachers nor the students liked this term and Michael suggested
cogen, which was a term that Eldon and Levin (1991) had used in earlier research.
Question 4: Who can participate in cogen?
Answer 4: Since cogen focuses on discussions of shared experiences, the
participants can be selected from any of the groups participating in a given field. For
example, in classrooms we have typically included teachers, several students, one
or two researchers, a school administrator, and a university based teacher educator.
However, such a wide range in the roles of participants will only occur if these
people, in their roles mentioned above, participated together in a lesson. That is, only
insiders are invited to participate in cogen sessions.
If the focus is on improving ways in which activities are undertaken in a science
department within a school then likely participants in cogen might include one to
two students, several teachers, the head of the science department, and an assistant
principal.
Question 5: Is it useful to have outsiders participating in cogen?
Answer 5: As long as an outsider is willing to come to the class (if the focus is
on improving the quality of learning environments) and coteach I can see only
advantages in having another set of eyes and ideas to inform participants on how
to improve the quality of the activities. What needs to be avoided is blaming one
group or another. For example, we do not want individuals to be singled out as solely
responsible for the quality of learning environments. On the contrary, the suggestions
for improvement should acknowledge the salience of the individual|collective
dialectic and any suggestions should assume collective responsibility for enactment.
As changes in roles are agreed to it is important to examine agency|structure
relationships to ensure that groups of individuals can appropriate the structures they
need to successfully enact changes. To be useful, outsider perspectives must take
account of the dialectical link between power to act (i.e., agency) and the provision
of resources. Hence successfully enacting agreed to changes in roles inevitably
requires changes in rules and materials/tools.
Question 6: How do you start cogen?
Answer 6: There are many ways to get started. Initially we liked to discuss what
worked well in today’s lesson and what needed to be changed. It was interesting
to find out how there were many differences in what different people identified in
such discussions. Later we found it easier to discuss the roles of students, rules, and
ways in which resources were made available and used. The focus of these dialogues
was on contradictions that arose – that is, exceptions to what usually happened.
Identifying contradictions was useful because some need to be eliminated because
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they are not conducive to learning. However, sometimes a contradiction occurs –
something that is not typical – that can be increased to make it occur more frequently
– that is, to make it customary because the participants in cogen regarded it as an
affordance for learning.
When we began videotaping lessons we often asked participants to review the
file and identify several vignettes for discussion during cogen. A vignette is usually
an excerpt that takes between 30 seconds of class time to 3 minutes. Because we
extract the relevant electronic segment we refer to it as a video-clip or video-
vignette. The good thing about a vignette is that it is short and it provides a focal
point for discussions about what is happening, and why it is happening. In so doing
participants can identify patterns associated with what customarily happens and
associated contradictions. Because we use electronic video records we can look at
what happens frame-by-frame. The video we use consists of 30 frames a second.
Accordingly, frame-by-frame analysis allows participants to see what is happening
at a microscopic level – in detail using a time frame that reveals interactions beyond
the consciousness of participants.
Another common way we use video, when there has not been time to identify
salient video-clips, is to replay the video and allow any person in the cogen group to
stop the tape at any point to talk about what is or was happening.
Question 7: What are the most important rules for cogen?
Answer 7: All participants are regarded as having equal power within the cogen
field. What this means in effect is power to call and convene a meeting, initiate
topics, and speak and say whatever is on his or her mind – as long as what is said is
respectful, caring and relevant to the conversation. There also is a responsibility to
share turns and amount of talk. That means all participants should be active listeners
and invite others to participate if they have been silent. Finding ways to include
others in dialogue is a responsibility of all participants. Talk during cogen should be
focused and care should be taken not to move onto a new topic until the current topic
is fully resolved; in the sense that something has been cogenerated. All participants
in cogen should be aware that when consensus is reached on any issue there is
responsibility for all to act in accordance with what has been agreed. Collective
agreements imply collective responsibility and collective action. An agreed-to
division of labor can be regarded as a rule to govern subsequent actions, practices,
and rituals.
Question 8: What do you do if students do not take cogen seriously?
Answer 8: This has happened frequently. If the students concerned didn’t settle
down after a session or so we invited them to participate in a smaller cogen, perhaps
involving one teacher and one or two students. If this didn’t work out well we set
it up as one-on-one – that is, one teacher with one student. Usually this worked out
well because the teacher and student concerned could focus on building the culture
necessary to successfully interact with one another. In a city like New York City this
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TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT COGENERATIVE DIALOGUES
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usually involved a teacher who was culturally different than most of his students.
Problems like this can arise because of immigration – for example, when a well-
qualified teacher from Egypt obtains his teacher certification and teachers a class
with mainly African American, Caribbean American and Latina/Latino youth. The
problems arise because of differences in culture due to different ethnic trajectories of
the teacher and students. This becomes an even greater problem when the students
are from home circumstances of high poverty and the teacher is middle class.
Question 9: Can cogen be done during a class?
Answer 9: The teacher mentioned in the answer to question 11 wanted all of her
students to participate in cogen and so she created small groups within the regularly
scheduled class time and allowed students to run their own cogen. The frequency
was once a week. As teacher she rotated between groups; thereby providing students
with time to identify and resolve issues without her being present. This is a variant
on the typical way in which cogen is conducted.
One of the first patterns we observed when we watched coteaching video on fast
forward was that coteachers taught apart and every now and then they came together
for a brief interaction. We called these huddles because they reminded us of what
happens in American football – when the quarterback gets the team into a huddle
to discuss what the team will do next. Huddles can occur frequently in a class and
sometimes students can huddle with teachers to discuss exactly the sort of thing that
is discussed in any cogen.
As a group becomes more experienced in using cogen the group size can be
increased so that more perspectives are presented and understood. Groups of six to
eight are common and in some instances half-class and full-class cogen is regularly
scheduled for the purpose of getting most or all students on board with supporting
agreed to changes in the classroom. The problem of this sort of cogen is that turns
at talk can be infrequent, but the advantage can be that everyone is involved and
can commit to agreed-to-changes. In these circumstances the chances of making
significant improvements can be high. One idea is for participants in a small group
cogen to get involved in whole class cogen to see whether or not they will agree to
and support what was agreed to in the small group situation.
Recently we realized that small group tutoring sessions and one on one teaching
function as cogen as long as the rules are followed. The advantage of thinking
of these activities in this way is to allow them to serve not only the learning of
new science subject matter, but also to allow them to serve as sites for producing
new culture about teaching and learning. I think this has major implications for
professional development and learning to teach. I could imagine a whole “methods”
class from a teacher education program coming to a school and having new teachers
tutor in small groups and one-on-one situations. This would benefit new teachers
and students as each would learn science, how to teach science and about the culture
of others. The new culture produced could significantly improve the teaching and
learning roles of participants.
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Question 10: How do you decide which students to get involved in cogen?
Answer 10: The goal of cogen is to bring diverse perspectives to the attention of
participants who have had a shared experience. Accordingly we select students
to participate because they are different from one another. Usually we start with
students who are most challenging so that strategies can be cogenerated to improve
the quality of the learning environment; not just for those students, but also for all
students in a class. For example, if we first selected a low achieving female we
might next select a low achieving male. Or, if we selected an African American
student initially we might select an Asian American next. Also, we wanted it to be
possible that any student who desired to be involved in cogen could be involved.
Accordingly, students can request to be included or they can complete a request form
we make available at the back of the classroom.
Question 11: Who can convene cogen?
Answer 11: Any of the participants, teacher or student, can request and convene
cogen. In one of our studies a teacher canceled cogen when she got to be too busy
just before a district wide science test the students had to take. She felt stressed and
could not set aside any more time to do cogen with her students. After the test was
administered she convened cogen and an issue raised by students was to ask why she
canceled the cogen at precisely the time students needed them most – in the weeks
prior to an important test. This is a good reminder that it is useful to allow anyone to
have the power to convene cogen. If she was too busy to be involved it might have
been possible for students to meet without her.
Question 12: How do participants get ready for cogen?
Answer 12: In successive cogens there usually will be one or more class sessions in
which there have been attempts to enact agreed to changes to the roles of participants,
rules for the class, and ways in which materials and tools to support learning are made
available to learners. Hence, all participants in cogen can prepare by reviewing what
happened in the lessons since the last cogen and, in so doing, identify patterns and
associated contradictions. If they do this they will have specifics to talk about when
they come to the cogen. If there is a video of the lesson then participants can identify
one or more video-vignettes to capture events that are potentially useful discussion
points. To sum up, the preparation is for participants to come ready to contribute.
Question 13: What do you expect to be accomplished from cogen?
Answer 13: The outcomes from cogen will be an appreciation and understanding
of the perspectives of others. As well, I expect that participants will identify sources
of disadvantage and create plans to extinguish them. Usually this requires different
roles for teachers and students, changes to the class rules, and changes in the nature,
distribution and access to materials and tools to support learning. It is imperative
that participants reach consensus on agreed to changes and develop willingness to
share responsibility for enacting agreed-to changes in the classroom or school fields.
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Question 14: Is cogen always part of coteaching?
Answer 14: Initially cogen was always related to coteaching in our work – a way to
get perspectives from students on how to improve classroom environments. After a
few years of research we realized that cogen was a field in which teachers and students
could learn how to effectively communicate across ethnic, gender and class borders.
Then we realized that they would be useful irrespective of the number of teachers. What
we have since learned is that even when there is only one official teacher, the students
who get involved in cogen will assume peer-teaching roles in the classroom. Hence,
cogen can catalyze coteaching between the official adult teacher and peer teachers
from the students in the class. I regard this as a highly desirable outcome of cogen.
Question 15: What do you mean by the claim that cogen is a seedbed for cultural
production?
Answer 15: We knew from our work on coteaching that when people worked together
in a field they became like the other. So, over time they learned about one another’s
culture, began to anticipate it, and interacted with the other’s culture in appropriate
ways. Similarly, when individuals interact with one another in small groups, such as
cogen, they can become like the other, but perhaps more importantly, they become
familiar with the culture of others in the group and learn how to use it successfully
to advance the group’s progress towards meeting its goals. If we look at what is
happening theoretically, action is enacted as culture – as a triple dialectic represented
as production|reproduction|transformation. As a participant enacts culture, practices
and schema associated with that individual’s praxis are available as structures to
support the agency of all participants. To take advantage of what others do, it is
important that participants know what to expect and then can make sense of what is
done so that successful interactions can occur. When successful interactions occur
positive emotions, such as satisfaction, happiness, and enjoyment can be produced
and spread from an individual to a collective of all participants in cogen.
We have found that when the rules of cogen are followed, that is when talk is
evenly distributed and all participants respect one another and listen attentively –
then mutual focus is established among all participants, patterns of synchrony can
be seen as participants make sense of what others are saying (i.e., head nods, eye
contact, short utterances of agreement such as uh huh, etc), and feelings associated
with positive emotions can lead to an increase in solidarity. Hence, in cogen many
desirable forms of culture can be produced, reproduced, and transformed – but just
as seeds can grow when they are nurtured in a protective environment of a seedbed,
so too can culture grow within a nurturing cogen.
Question 16: How does cogen afford cultural alignment in a classroom?
Answer 16: Ideally what you want is for appropriate culture to be enacted fluently
throughout a classroom. That is, there needs to be widespread synchrony among
participants and mutual focus. If this is to happen then students need to anticipate one
another’s practices, and enact their own culture in ways that are timely and appropriate.
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As I mentioned earlier, cogen is a seedbed for cultural production. Each person
can learn to anticipate what is going to happen next in cogen and how to interact to
produce successful outcomes. When successful interactions produce synchronous
interactions among participants, common mood can emerge throughout a group.
For example, feelings like satisfaction, happiness and excitement can be quickly
disseminated throughout participants in cogen. When there is common mood among
participants, especially if it is positive, then solidarity can develop – once again
increasing possibilities that participants will identify with the collective and produce
culture that is in synchrony with other’s enactments – or as the question implies –
alignments occur between cultural enactments of participants.
In our research we have found that alignments can occur in the following ways:
successive speakers will match the fundamental frequencies and the amplitude
of utterances at the end and beginning of turns at talk. Also, successive speakers
will match the rhythm and emotional mood of speech utterances. Finally, there is
evidence to suggest that during interactions gestures and body movements will be
synchronized. Hence, high-energy actions from one participant will be mirrored in
subsequent actions of others.
Question 17: How is cogen symmetrical in providing opportunities for learning to
interact successfully across social borders?
Answer 17: It is not just students who may not know how to interact with others
in a classroom. For example, when I started to teach in inner city high schools in
Philadelphia I did not really understand the culture of urban youth in the United
States. To begin with, I was Australian, white, male, and middle class. My students
(as part of my research on the teaching and learning of science in urban high schools)
were African American, black, male and female, and poor. For many months my
communications with them were usually unsuccessful. I could not get some students
even to acknowledge I existed. When I spoke to them, either they ignored me or
they were disrespectful. It was essential that I learn to interact successfully with my
students and it made sense for me to interact with them one at a time until I had some
success. Also, my students had to learn how to interact with me. It was necessary
for me to show my respect for them and for them to show their respect for me. Also
I had to learn about smiles, eye contact, body movements and gestures – as well as
about their interests, fashions and music. As they got to know me and I got to know
them, I gradually became more successful as a teacher.
It is a pity that this all happened before we had done our research on cogen because
cogen is an ideal activity to produce the culture teachers and students need to create and
sustain productive learning environments. If we think about the goals of cogen in terms
of producing, reproducing and transforming culture it is advantageous to see cogen as
a field to support the learning of teachers and students. If cultures are to be enacted
fluently then all participants have to be able to adapt their praxis to the praxis of others.
The culture produced in cogen, by teachers and students, becomes part of a repertoire
that can be enacted in classrooms as structures that increase learning possibilities.
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TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT COGENERATIVE DIALOGUES
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Question 18: Why are desirable changes in solidarity and identity likely outcomes
from cogen?
Answer 18: When people come together in cogen, or in any group situation a
powerful need they have is to have a sense of belonging. Having such a sense can
make it more likely that they will see the utility of transactions with others. If a person
successfully transacts with others in a group the success will likely produce positive
emotions – increasing the likelihood that solidarity (i.e., a sense of belonging) will
emerge as an outcome. On the other hand, if transactions do not produce success,
negative emotions such as frustration and anger can be associated with feelings of
alienation (i.e., not belonging) with the group.
As cogen proceeds all participants can monitor whether they are being treated
with respect and can enact their roles in the ways they expect. If others encourage
their participation and do their best to increase the amount of success, then identities
can be affirmed in terms of success, belonging, and acceptance of the goals of
cogen. As I explained earlier, the rules of cogen have been established to increase
chances that participants will develop solidarity, expand their identities to include
collective roles and responsibilities, and focus on attainment of success and positive
emotions.
Question 19: What are possible applications of cogen in teacher education programs?
Answer 19: An obvious application of cogen in a teacher education program is in
the field experience. As Director of Teacher Education at the Penn, I requested that
all new teachers set up cogen at least once a week and on an as-needed basis. For
all the reasons that arise from my responses to earlier questions, I regard it as highly
desirable for cogen to be an essential part of teaching and learning – no matter at
what level the teaching and learning occur. What better way to create more of a sense
of shared control for what happens?
As a teacher of graduate and undergraduate courses I can employ cogen to ensure
that my students have a voice in the curriculum, sources of disadvantage to them are
removed, and changes are enacted to enhance opportunities to learn.
Question 20: How might cogen be used for school improvement?
Answer 20: I regard school as a field that has nested fields within it – including
departments, classes, and other places of cultural activity, like the lunchroom.
From what we have seen in our ongoing research, cogen can be used to advantage
to examine patterns of coherence and associated contradictions in any field.
Once these patterns and contradictions are identified they become objects for
possible change with the goal of improving the quality of social life in the field.
This includes expanding the goals for activity in the field, expanding the range
of activities, changing roles of participants, altering rules that apply to a field,
and expanding opportunities to successfully use resources to attain goals through
participation.
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The challenge for all participants in cogen is to set aside existing power structures
(that apply in other fields) to allow cogen to produce forms of culture to improve
science education. Of course, at the level of an entire country this may prove to be
very difficult to do – and in some cultures the symbolic power of certain groups of
people might necessitate a different structure for cogen. Hence, from one country to
another cogen will no doubt have to be structured differently, thereby allowing for
the possibility of different outcomes emerging. This is not something that should
dampen our spirit of inquiry. There is vast potential in the use of cogen across the
fields that comprise our lifeworlds. As we enact cogen and make adaptations, my
challenge is for scholars to study what happens so that, as a global community, we
learn from ongoing programs of research.
REFERENCES
Eldon, M., & Levin, M. (1991). Cogenerative learning: Bringing participation into action research. In
W. F. Whyte (Ed.), Participatory action research (pp.127–142). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Kenneth Tobin is Presidential Professor of Urban Education at the Graduate Center
of the City University of New York. Prior to becoming a university science educator
in Australia in 1974, Tobin taught high school physics, chemistry, biology general
science, and mathematics for 10 years. He began a program of research in 1973
that continues to the present day—teaching and learning of science and learning
to teach science. As well as research being undertaken in the Bronx of New York
City, Tobin is involved in collaborative research in Brisbane, Australia; Sao Paulo,
Brazil; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. His current research involves multilevel studies of
the relationships between emotions and physiological factors associated with the
wellness of teachers and students. In his career Tobin has published 24 books, 206
refereed journal articles, and 118 book chapters. With Barry Fraser and Campbell
McRobbie he is co-editor of the second edition of the International Handbook of
Research in Science Education, published in 2012 by Springer. Tobin is the founding
co-editor of Cultural Studies of Science Education.
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... Recent scholarship in science teacher education has explored an emergent tool for helping teachers gain greater understanding of their studentsdcogenerative dialogues (Tobin, 2014). Conceptualized as learning catalysts for educators (Siry & Lang, 2010), cogenerative dialogues represent spaces where teachers meet with representative groups of their students on a regular (usually weekly) basis outside of instructional time to generate, deliberate on, and evaluate ideas toward improved opportunities for student learning (Tobin & Roth, 2006). ...
... Research on cogenerative dialogues in K-12 classrooms supports this conceptualization, highlighting several affordances for teacher learning and adaptiveness in relation to students' cultural repertoires and, in particular, their expectations for classroom communication (Tobin, 2014). For example, previous studies have explored how teachers engaging in cogenerative dialogues have adopted aspects of their students' speaking styles (Beers, 2009;LaVan, 2005), reformatted classroom discussions to reflect more authentic forms of student discussions, and employed culturally relevant analogies to help explain science concepts (Emdin, 2011). ...
... Cogenerative dialogues (cogens) are structured exchanges between students and their teacher where they reflect on the classroom and co-develop strategies for instruction. In these dialogues, youth share their socioemotional and academic needs and work with teachers to address them (Emdin, 2007;Tobin, 2014). Ideally, these dialogues are structured like the hiphop cypher where participants are positioned in a circle equidistant from each other and communicating without any established hierarchy that privileges one person's voice over another (Emdin, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper offers a theoretical and practical approach to teaching and learning in STEM education. We uncover the deficits in existing STEM pedagogies while outlining a culturally relevant/responsive model that reveals the science genius of youth who are marginalized in contemporary STEM classrooms. Through an analysis of the concept cultural agnosia, we suggest hip-hop as treatment of the condition and an approach for a more culturally rich approach to instruction.
... Cogenerative dialogue (often referred to as cogen) is a data-collection method well suited to the reciprocal learning and participation elements of ako as it privileges ākonga voice. Cogen (Tobin, 2014) can be used to aid the alignment of the participant cultures present in a classroom, particularly when there is cultural difference between kaiako and ākonga (Shady, 2015). Cogen is facilitated discussion between stakeholders where ākonga are empowered through the discussion both to influence and to shape their own learning. ...
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This article presents findings from a study focusing on ako in mathematics teaching in one English-medium secondary school classroom. The participants were a Year 9 class (22 ākonga with varying ethnicities and mathematics achievement levels) and their non-Māori kaiako, the researcher. Data were generated through surveys, discussions between ākonga and their kaiako, and reflective notes. Results indicated that drawing on literature and empowering student voice in the shaping of how ako was enacted helped to increase motivation and achievement in mathematics learning. Classroom management also improved as relationships with ākonga and whānau, grounded in ākonga worlds, developed. This article provides examples of how other kaiako can richly reflect ako in their own classrooms.
... The data analysis was done by Tang Wee. She approached the analysis using the event-oriented inquiry method (Tobin, 2014). In the analysis, an event is one that shows the trends, patterns, unique phenomena, or contrast to illuminate the changes that occurred. ...
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Participatory action research is an empowering approach to advance research with participants. This paper describes and discusses the process and outcomes in engaging cogenerative dialogue (cogen) and coteaching in participatory action research (PAR) to support science curriculum change in a Singapore lower track classroom. The intervention was introduced after researching in a science teacher’s two lower tracker classrooms for about 18 months and observing that his lessons were teacher-centered and he experienced difficulty engaging the students. Using the empirical findings to inform teaching practice, the researchers engaged the science teacher and two selected students in two cogen sessions to identify issues with the science lessons. The students suggested solutions which were taken up and used to plan and design revised lessons co-taught by the science teacher and one researcher. This paper describes changes to the teacher’s and researcher’s teaching, learning, and research experiences through the lens of cogen and PAR. Transcripts from one cogen session, one cotaught lesson, one teacher interview, and one researcher’s written reflections were analyzed to distil affordances of PAR that led to changes in the classroom practices, views about science teaching and ways to carry out science research. The study illuminates the potentially transformative role of cogen, when coupled with action research, in Singapore and other classrooms.
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What is feminist transdisciplinary research? Why is it important? How do we do it? Through nineteen contributions from leading international feminist scholars, this book provides new insights into activating transdisciplinary feminist theories, methods and practices in original, creative and exciting ways – ways that make a difference both to what research is and does, and to what counts as knowledge. The contributors draw on their own original research and engage an impressive array of contemporary theorizing – including new materialism, decolonialism, critical disability studies, historical analyses, Black, Indigenous and Latina Feminisms, queer feminisms, Womanist Methodologies, trans studies, arts-based research, philosophy, spirituality, science studies and sports studies – to trouble traditional conceptions of research, method and praxis. The authors show how working beyond disciplinary boundaries, and integrating insights from different disciplines to produce new knowledge, can prompt important new transdisciplinarity thinking and activism in relation to ongoing feminist concerns about knowledge, power and gender. In doing so, the book attends to the multiple lineages of feminist theory and practice and seeks to bring these historical differences and intersections into play with current changes, challenges and opportunities in feminism. The book’s practically-grounded examples and wide-ranging theoretical orbit are likely to make it an invaluable resource for established scholars and emerging researchers in the social sciences, arts, humanities, education, and beyond.
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This article explores the dynamic between Black youth and their teachers through an exploration of an approach to teaching and learning embedded in the complex cultural knowledge(s) of this population. It interrogates the concepts of ratchedemics and reality pedagogy as both philosophy and practice for moving past the framing of particular populations as dystopian and non-academic in the pursuit of the mirage of urban educational utopia.
Chapter
This chapter highlights my experience as an immigrant science teacher during the school year of 2006–2007 in a low–academically performing middle school in New York City. I experienced didactic difficulties because I lacked the cultural awareness necessary to produce positive teaching and learning environment.
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This study investigates the effects of widely advocated organizational reform for secondary schools, namely the small school model, on the collective efficacy of teachers and students who did not share the school's common vision. Themes that emerged during the study linked the students' academic engagement to faculty dispositions, the physical facilities of the school, and the socioeconomic context of the student body. Cogenerative dialogue (cogen) was used as a pathway to ameliorate such exclusionary policy. The results of the study indicate that the conversations during cogen meetings became resources to draw on in changing oppressive structural features.
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Classrooms across the United States increasingly find immigrant science teachers paired with urban minority students, but few of these teachers are prepared for the challenges such cultural assimilation presents. This is particularly true in secondary science education. Identifying potential prospects for culturally adaptive pedagogy in science education is important for students and teachers alike because it provides means for increasing marginalized students’ access to science fields. In this autoethnography, I document my experience as an immigrant science teacher in an urban intermediate school in New York City. Although I possessed the content knowledge highly valued by the current neoliberal agenda, I lacked the cultural adaptivity necessary to foster a successful learning environment. I utilized cogenerative dialogue (cogen) as a tool to ameliorate instances of cultural misalignments and improve teaching and learning in my classroom. The results of the study show that the interstitial culture produced through the implementation of the different forms of cogen became a reference point to draw upon in improving the overall learning environment.
Cogenerative learning: Bringing participation into action research
  • M Eldon
  • M Levin
Eldon, M., & Levin, M. (1991). Cogenerative learning: Bringing participation into action research. In W. F. Whyte (Ed.), Participatory action research (pp.127-142). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH