This study inquires into the ways that three preservice teachers enrolled in one English education program at a state namesake university in the Southeastern part of USA, oriented to uncertainty when interacting with one another as they discussed potentially challenging/uncomfortable topics.
The tools of conversation analysis were used to analyze the three preservice teachers’ talk as they discussed the potential for using President Obama’s (2008) A More Perfect Union speech with their own secondary students.
The findings from this study suggest that when discussing uncomfortable topics like race and politics, preservice teachers tend to work toward consensus, rather than valuing tension and disagreement. Specifically, the preservice teachers in this study engaged in several strategies as they worked toward consensus with one another and also to excuse themselves from having potentially divergent opinions from one another or their potential future students.
Possible explanations for the tendency toward agreement, as well as recommendations for future teaching that could challenge such an inclination for agreement, are delineated.
Previous studies on the role of discussion within educational settings have focused on the possibilities of dialogue to contribute to the construction of individuals’ identities and also to encourage participants to arrive at a singular understanding of the topic being discussed. This study offers a new perspective on the role of discussion, by suggesting that attempts at consensus and the development of singular identities limits potential for dialogue, thus limiting learning and development.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited