University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Faculty of Education Seminars > CEDiR Group Seminar: Investigating the Social Nature of Classroom Learning: Evolving Methodologies

CEDiR Group Seminar: Investigating the Social Nature of Classroom Learning: Evolving Methodologies

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Many of the processes by which educational phenomena are experienced and by which the products of the learning process are enacted are essentially social. Further, the institutions (e.g., schools) and the individuals (e.g., teachers), whose primary function is to promote learning, do so by means of social interaction. Contemporary learning theorists have attempted to integrate social interaction into their theories in ways that do more than relegate the social to simply a context for cognition. However, developing an empirical basis for such theories has proved challenging. From initial fine-grained investigation of learning in naturalistic classroom settings in Australia, for fifteen years our approach employed cross-cultural comparison of teaching and learning in the classrooms in more than a dozen countries. The recent establishment of a laboratory classroom at the University of Melbourne offers the opportunity to investigate student collaborative activity in new levels of detail. We propose that student socially-performed negotiative activity constitutes an essential aspect of the learning process in classrooms but also a key learning product on which more sophisticated intellectual activity is dependent. This presentation provides an overview of the research program undertaken at the International Centre for Classroom Research (ICCR) at the University of Melbourne to investigate the social nature of classroom learning.

David Clarke is a Professor at the University of Melbourne and Director of the International Centre for Classroom Research (ICCR). Over the last twenty years, his research activity has centred on capturing the complexity of classroom practice through a program of international video-based classroom research. The development of the Science of Learning Research Classroom provides Professor Clarke with new levels of detail and experimental precision for his investigation into the social essentials of learning.

Dr Esther Chan is a Research Fellow in the ICCR . She is a registered psychologist who specialises in educational psychology and assessment. She is the Project Manager of the Social Unit of Learning project which uses collaborative problem solving in mathematics to investigate the social nature of learning utilising the Science of Learning Research Classroom.

This talk is part of the Faculty of Education Seminars series.

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