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What (if anything) about framing? Is it significant? Do we need to consider it? Jim Greeno SC Thrust coding/analysis workshop May 27, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "What (if anything) about framing? Is it significant? Do we need to consider it? Jim Greeno SC Thrust coding/analysis workshop May 27, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 What (if anything) about framing? Is it significant? Do we need to consider it? Jim Greeno SC Thrust coding/analysis workshop May 27, 2011

2 Two issues: Discourse and learning happen at multiple levels — should we make that explicit? Parsing can foreground interpersonal aspects of interaction or content (What kind of interaction happened? Or What idea or information got added to common ground?) Of course, we shouldn’t try to do everything at once. But perhaps it’s good if we keep track of what we’re leaving for future work.

3 Why framing may be an important issue For communication to succeed, the parties need to be taking perspectives that are aligned (Rommetveit). RR’s example: “Is Mr. Smith working?” (To a golfing partner: “No, he’s mowing the lawn.” That is, he’s not at his office.) (To a nosy neighbor: “Yes, he’s mowing the lawn.” (That is, he’s not still sleeping.) When learning includes conceptual change, most learners probably lack resources that could support framing that is aligned with the perspective intended by the information source (teacher, textbook, program, or whatever). Maybe resources for framing — and reframing — are important as prerequisites — different from component skills.

4 Aspects of Framing In general, framings are participants’ understandings of “What is it that’s going on here?” (Goffman) One aspect is positional framing, also called positioning, participant structure, or participant framework. What kinds of things is each participant entitled, expected, or obligated to do in the activity, in relation to each other and to the concepts and methods of the subject matter domain? (Bateson, Goffman, Tannen, O’Connor & Michaels, Pickering, Engle & Conant, others) Another aspect is epistemological framing. What kinds of knowledge and information are relevant for the activity, and what kinds of information need to be constructed to succeed in the activity? (Hammer, Engle, others) Third, there is conceptual framing. How are the participants organizing the information that is involved in the activity — what is in the foreground, what is “off the screen”? (Gestalt psychologists, Rommetveit, MacWhinney)

5 How Can Participants with Misaligned Framings Fix the Problem? Becoming aligned with others’ communicative intentions is probably a built-in motivational tendency. When framings are aligned, it works easily (cf. Rommetveit’s Mrs. Smith). When they aren’t, there’s a need for (deep) repair. In examples involving conceptual framing that I’ve studied, there is a significant effort by one or more of the participants to adopt or construct a framing that is aligned with another participant. Call that participant an inquirer. Someone or something (e.g., a computer simulation or text material) functions as a source.

6 Two Ways to Repair Misalignment 1.The inquirer recognizes that the source’s framing corresponds to a schema that the inquirer knows, and the inquirer adopts this schema. 2.The inquirer doesn’t know or recognize a schema, but constructs a framing by questioning the source, assembling a framing by constraint satisfaction consistent with the information obtained from the source. Note: when learning requires conceptual change, by definition the learner needs to be an inquirer in Case 2.

7 An example The setting: an 8 th -grade algebra class, late in the year, in a unit on quadratic equations. (handout p. 1) Ms. S.’s plan: define a variable (say, w) as the width of the borders, so (72-2w)(40-2w) = 1680, solve for w, then find length and width of the inner rectangle, then the perimeter, then how many laps =.25 mi. Students did not respond to her invitation to take the next step in her plan.

8 Gillian volunteered, and Ms. Sanchez positioned her as a source, with herself as an inquirer (handout p. 2) Gillian’s information was hard for Ms. S to fit in her framing; the variables in Gillian’s foreground were in Ms. S’s background. Ms. S mentioned a constraint (write an equation).

9 Gillian wrote expressions (72-y)/2 and (40-x)/2. It was accepted that these referred to the horizontal vertical widths of the border (handout pp. 3-4).

10 Hannah supplied an equation xy = 1680 (turn 46), which Gillian wrote on the whiteboard (turn 47). Gillian (turn 58), with Hannah’s confirmation (turn 63), and then Ms. S’s acceptance (turn 78) contributed the linear equation (72-y)/2 = (40-x)/2 and these could be solved, using substitution

11 Some Possible Lessons The information processing involved in comprehending information, if your framing isn’t aligned with the source, can be hard: i) it requires significant effort and cooperation; ii) the inquirer has to know quite a bit, in the form of general constraints If this is true, then successful teaching probably includes fostering students’ developing resources for framing, that are sufficiently aligned with framings inherent in the subject matter.

12 Another Dimension of Accountable Talk? It might be important to consider ways in which classroom talk can be accountable to students’ prior knowing and understanding. As a general principle, that’s already accepted, but it may be important to develop a better account of what that means. (Framing resources are probably a different kind of knowledge than Gagné-type prerequisites.)

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