Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Elementary teachers' conceptions of listening
by Siegel, Bradley Charles, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2015, 223; 3704530
Abstract (Summary)

This research study investigated five elementary teachers' conceptions of listening positioned across a complex and diverse state of dialogue. Social studies educational researchers have promoted democratic discourse in various studies aimed at preparing teachers to cultivate active student citizenship. The absence of careful attention to the multifaceted dimensions of listening is a notable gap in current extant research related to classroom discussion. Educational philosophers, alternatively, have argued for the moral and intellectual virtues of listening on equal grounds to its dialogic counterpart: speaking. I synthesized writing from various fields and categorized listening into two broad domains: thin and thick listening. Thin listening, widely conceptualized in education, is further characterized as obedient and attentive listening. Deeper notions of thick listening fall into the subcategories of democratic, relational, and pedagogical listening.

Hermeneutic phenomenology is the research methodology guiding the methods and interpretative analyses undertaken in this study. Applying principles from phenomenologist Max van Manen, I framed interview questions for teachers to reflect on the nature of listening in their classroom and everyday experiences. I read and listened to the interview transcripts and recordings numerous times with openness and wonder, yet with an understanding that interpretation is never free from judgment or situated perspective.

Findings revealed elementary teachers conceptualized listening under thicker terms when engaging in reflective analysis, although thin listening ideas remained present at times in their thinking about students, the classroom, and dialogue. This study arranged thick listening findings into four broad themes: a) listening to specific students activating new ideas about listening, b) the dynamic relationship between listening and being listened to, c) the connection between speaking, thinking, and listening (interlistening), and d) disturbed notions listening. The conceptions teachers disclosed are significant to elementary educators and researchers in social studies teacher education because thin notions prevail unchallenged, thus rendering an unbalanced and incomplete view of classroom dialogue. Inquiry into the nature and process of listening can inform future studies related to common classroom discussion frameworks, such as Structured Academic Controversies (SACs), that social studies researchers value in civic education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gaudelli, William, Laverty, Megan
Commitee: Edmonds, Lisa, Schmidt, Sandra
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
Department: Arts and Humanities
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social studies education, Education philosophy
Keywords: Democratic education, Elementary education, Hermeneutic phenomenology, Listening, Social studies
Publication Number: 3704530
ISBN: 978-1-321-76962-3
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