Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning

1st Edition

By Ference Marton, Amy B.M. Tsui, Pakey P.M. Chik, Po Yuk Ko, Mun Ling Lo


256 pages

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Paperback: 9780805840094
pub: 2004-01-05
Hardback: 9780805840087
pub: 2004-01-22
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781410609762
pub: 2004-05-20
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Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning is about learning in schools and the central role of language in learning. The investigations of learning it reports are based on two premises: First, whatever you are trying to learn, there are certain necessary conditions for succeeding--although you cannot be sure that learning will take place when those conditions are met, you can be sure that no learning will occur if they are not. The limits of what is possible to learn is what the authors call "the space of learning." Second, language plays a central role in learning--it does not merely convey meaning, it also creates meaning. The book explicates the necessary conditions for successful learning and employs investigations of classroom discourse data to demonstrate how the space of learning is linguistically constituted in the classroom.

Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning:

*makes the case that an understanding of how the space of learning is linguistically constituted in the classroom is best achieved through investigating "classroom discourse" and that finding out what the conditions are for successful learning and bringing them about should be the teacher's primary professional task. Thus, it is fundamentally important for teachers and student teachers to be given opportunities to observe different teachers teaching the same thing, and to analyze and reflect on whether the classroom discourse in which they are engaged maximizes or minimizes the conditions for learning;

*is both more culturally situated and more generalizable than many other studies of learning in schools. Each case of classroom teaching clearly demonstrates how the specific language, culture, and pedagogy molds what is happening in the classroom, yet at the same time it is possible to generalize from these culturally specific examples the necessary conditions that must be met for the development of any specific capability regardless of where the learning is taking place and what other conditions might be present; and

*encompasses both theory and practice--providing a detailed explication of the theory of learning underlying the analyses of classroom teaching reported, along with close analyses of a number of authentic cases of classroom teaching driven by classroom discourse data which have practical relevance for teachers.

Intended for researchers and graduate students in education, teacher educators, and student teachers, Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning is practice- and content-oriented, theoretical, qualitative, empirical, and focused on language, and links teaching and learning in significant new ways.


"In focusing on a series of classroom studies where the critical role of language is closely examined, Marton and Tsui and their collaborating authors extend in important ways Marton's earlier studies using both empirical and conceptual arguments….I am not aware of any other book that addresses these particular issues with the kind of comprehensive theoretical framework which Marton and Tsui bring to this work. I particularly like the focus on classroom discourse and learning."

Gaalen Erickson

University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Part I: On Learning and Language. F. Marton, U. Runesson, A.B.M. Tsui, The Space of Learning. Part II: On Learning. P.Y. Ko, F. Marton, Variation and the Secret of the Virtuoso. U. Runesson, I.A.C. Mok, Discernment and the Question "What Can Be Learned?" P.P.M. Chik, M.L. Lo, Simultaneity and the Enacted Object of Learning. Part III: On Language. A.B.M. Tsui, F. Marton, I.A.C. Mok, D.F.P. Ng, Questions and the Space of Learning. A.B.M. Tsui, The Semantic Enrichment of the Space of Learning. A.B.M. Tsui, The Shared Space of Learning. Part IV: On Improving Learning. M.L. Lo, F. Marton, M.F. Pang, W.Y. Pong, Toward a Pedagogy of Learning. Epilogue.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies