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Rupert Wegerif and Neil Mercer (1997)

A Dialogical Framework for Researching Peer Talk

In: Computers and Talk in the Primary Classroom, ed. by Rupert Wegerif and Peter Scrimshaw. Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, chap. 5, pp. 49-65.

Rupert Wegerif and Neil Mercer question the relevance of neo-Vygotskian theory to the study of peer talk and propose a framework for the study of peer talk which, they claim, goes beyond some of the limitations of neo-Vygotskian theory. This framework is called 'dialogical' because it is based on a characterisation of types of interactive dialogue. The schema of three types of talk introduced by Eunice Fisher is taken up and elaborated, in order to argue that these three types of talk reflect basic possibilities in the ways in which speakers of similar social and educational status can relate to each other in dialogue. Finally Wegerif and Mercer offer an analysis of the types of talk, using four distinct levels of description running from the interpretation of the fundamental orientation of the talk through to the level of surface language features such as key words.

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