Conversational implicature and higher-order thinking in instructional conversations.
AuthorKeller, Jill Leslie
Committee ChairAmes, Wilbur S.
Mitchell, Judy Nichols
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractResults from curriculum enactment and sociolinguistic research have indicated that lessons are composed of information exchanges consisting of mostly facts and procedures that place little cognitive demand on students. Scholars from these areas have ascribed the characteristics of the school, teacher, student, management and task demands, or linguistic, and/or social context as explanations for those observations. They have not made a direct connection between how teachers and students decide who takes responsibility for providing the intellectual content of lessons and how that decision affects the students' higher order contributions. Consequently, the present study was designed to examine the way teachers and students cooperated for effective information exchanges and how that cooperative effort influenced students' higher order contributions. One hundred twelve chemistry and mathematics tutorials formed the data. The volunteer tutors possessed extensive training in their subject areas and the problems for discussion were designed to make high cognitive demands on the volunteer students. Methods from discourse analysis were used to develop an analytical model to identify, describe, and compare how the tutors and students exchanged information. The model was applied to the data to provide information on the following topics; the roles of the tutor and student, the substance of the exchanges, and the use of mediation strategies. Next, a code of conduct known as Grice's (1975) theory of conversational implicature was used to interpret the results of the analysis. The aim was to link conversational cooperation with students' higher order contributions to the discourse. First, the results indicated a model can be developed to describe, compare, and categorize instructional conversations. Second, tutors and students cooperate to maintain their roles during instruction and mediation strategies support those roles. Third, tutors and students intuitively follow Grice's (1975) conversational code of conduct to support their roles during their information exchanges. This cooperative effort is rooted in the conditions for conversational implicature. It was found when teachers and students explicitly negotiate and accept new intellectual roles before instruction (the conditions for implicature), higher order thinking can be encouraged by teachers and contributed by students to instructional conversations.
Degree ProgramTeaching and Teacher Education