W. T.

LeGard (2007) OU

The Effect of Intersubjectivity on Effective Instruction in an Informal Asymmetrical Problem-Solving Situation
________________________________________________________________________ Abstract Support staff in British primary schools works with individual pupils or small groups. Since these non-teacher adults are able to attain intersubjectivity with pupils, contingent instruction is possible within the context of the classroom. An observational study compared and measured the educational discourse of an intersubjective and nonrelationship dyad to determine the effect of intersubjectivity on effective teachinglearning discourse. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that greater intersubjectivity leads to more effective teaching and learning. The sample comprised two six-year-old male children and a teaching assistant. Data were collated from a videorecorded problem-solving task. The participants’ discourse was coded. Analysis revealed that the dyad with greater intersubjectivity engaged in teaching that was more contingent. However, while intersubjectivity affected the adult’s use of effective teaching discourse it did not influence the child’s use of effective learning discourse. Findings suggest that intersubjectivity is fundamental to contingent and effective teaching, and that non-teacher adults can achieve contingent instruction within schools. Pupils’ use of effective learning discourse is influenced by the asymmetrical nature of adult-child interactions, context and misidentification of the zone of proximal development. Introduction Socio-cultural theory proposes that expert-novice interactions are significant in fostering cognition. Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development and the scaffolding concept can assist in investigating the effectiveness of adult-child interactions and the role of the educator. Most research in the area of adult-child exchanges has focused upon teachers and caregivers as educators. However, it is now common for a variety of non-teacher adults to assist in primary school classrooms. Unlike teachers, who must promote and sustain interactions with large numbers of children, these adults usually support individual or small groups of pupils and are thus able to achieve shared understanding. Shared understanding ─ or intersubjectivity ─ refers to attention, knowledge and understanding shared between the participants of an activity (Göncü, 1993). Schaffer (2005) maintains that shared understanding is the key to cognitive development. This

quality of the teaching-learning relationship is often overlooked, yet determining the influence of intersubjectivity on effective teaching and learning could compel educators to re-evaluate their organization of adult-child interactions, which are rarely observed in the very settings where they would seem most appropriate (Tharp and Gallimore, 1991). Many researchers have employed Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory to examine the link between social interaction and cognitive development. Vygotsky (1987) maintained that development occurs within a social context and that the central element of the educational process is the unique form of co-operation between the child and adult. Vygotsky (1978) perceived children as social beings who are able to appropriate new patterns of thinking when learning alongside individuals who are more proficient. Through such collaboration, children come to master activities, use cultural tools (e.g. language), and think in ways that have meaning in their culture. Vygotsky (1978) called this concept the zone of proximal development (ZPD). This is the expanse between the child’s level of development and their potential developmental level, in collaboration with a more competent individual. Thus, social interactions scaffold the child’s cognitive development in the ZPD, leading to a higher level of reasoning; cognitive functions are transferred from the intermental to the intramental plane. Employing a Vygotskian approach, Wood and Middleton (1975) attempted to define the nature of effective teaching by analysing mother-child interactions in an experimental situation. Caregivers were instructed to teach their four-year-old children to construct a wooden ziggurat, a task the children would be unable to complete without scaffolded instruction. Wood and Middleton (ibid.) identified five levels of control of contingent instruction, which, they claim, accommodate any demand an adult might make. They omitted, however, two potential levels, namely, no interaction and implication. Wood’s (1986) contingency rule states that the adult should adjust the level of instruction in relation to the child’s task competence. Following an error by the child, the adult should assume more control. After successful completion of a task behaviour following instruction, the adult should relinquish some control. Wood and Middleton (1975) concluded that the more an adult’s actions are contingent upon a child’s behaviour, the more the child can accomplish independently after instruction. Although Wood (1986) criticizes contrived encounters in psychological experiments, his and Middleton’s (1975) findings arose from studies of manufactured interaction. A pyramid puzzle, for example, is unlikely to be recognized as familiar by the child and merely increases the artificial nature of the situation. Wood (1986) proposes a distinction between spontaneous teaching encounters in the home and contrived adult-controlled interactions in school. Conversations, claims Mercer (2004), are built upon a shared history. Indeed, the notion of bridging (Rogoff et al., 1993) expands the concept of intersubjectivity and emphasizes that a shared history between individuals facilitates joint focus. Encountering a new task/situation, teachers and learners attempt comprehension with reference to their shared experiences. Wood (1986) claims that, because parents have privileged access to their children’s particular learning needs and histories, contingent teaching is more likely to take place within a family context. Such knowledge leads to the establishment of intersubjectivity, which

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Wood (ibid.) maintains is the foundation of contingent instruction. Teachers face difficulties in establishing contingent interaction and merely attempt to achieve group intersubjectivity (Wood, 1986). However, regularly working with individual pupils, nonteacher adults are able to attain what Rommetveit (1974) terms greater intersubjectivity. Wood (1986) suggests that the typical method employed by teachers to manage interactions ─ the use of questions ─ is counter-productive. Effective teaching discourse, for example, speculation and opinion, are more likely than closed questions to elicit high cognitive responses. Similarly, Mercer (2004) maintains that teachers’ communicative techniques reflect the constraints of the school environment. The standard teacher-pupil exchange of Initiation-Response-Feedback (IRF) can limit pupils’ contributions. Mercer (2004) cites context and continuity as foundations of intersubjective interactions. If these are not fully established, shared understanding may be disrupted. Certainly, children are active participants in their development (Schaffer, 2005) and Mercer (2004) asserts that they should practise and develop their language use by employing it to reason, argue, and explain. Such verbalizations can be categorized as effective learning discourse. Although Wood (1986) claims that contingent teaching is unlikely to take place within schools, it is possible for non-teacher adults who support individual pupils to achieve intersubjectivity and thus establish contingent interaction. Moreover, if, as Mercer (2004) asserts, shared understanding is the foundation for reasoning with language, the presence of greater intersubjectivity (Rommetveit, 1974) should lead to an increase in the use of effective teaching and learning discourse. Few studies exist that examine the effect of intersubjectivity on effective teaching and learning within adult-child dyads. However, a parallel area of research, the influence of friendship on peer collaboration, has received some attention. Following an observational study of child-child problem-solving interactions, Azmitia and Montgomery (1993) found that collaborations between friends produced more transactive discourse than collaborations between non-friends. Transactive discourse is defined as dialogue in which children operate upon one another’s reasoning (Azmitia, 1997). Children who collaborated with a friend displayed greater pre- to post-test change than children who worked with a non-friend. Azmitia and Montgomery (1993) maintain that the relationship between the children within the friend-friend dyads motivated them to achieve intersubjectivity. The dyads’ interaction history enabled them to sustain the collaboration. Miell and MacDonald (2000) also found this positive influence of friendship on children’s collaborations, although Berndt et al. (1988) found no empirical evidence of supporting the claim. Studies of peer interaction, then, can demonstrate the influence of intersubjectivity on effective discourse, but what of adult-child interactions? Following their longitudinal study investigating the influence of relationships between teachers and pupils, O’Connor and McCartney (2007) found that high-quality teacherpupil relationships foster children’s cognitive development. Their findings demonstrated that, by the time children are nine years old, teacher-child relationships are stronger predictors of achievement than relationships with peers. The significant effect of the quality of these relationships on academic achievement indicates the importance of considering the dynamic quality of relationships between educators and learners.

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It is only recently that research focusing upon the role of non-teachers in supporting children’s cognitive development in schools has been carried out. Howes et al. (2003) maintain that non-teacher adults who have detailed, personal knowledge of the pupils they support can promote children’s cognitive development. An observational study by Hughes (1994) examined adults’ contribution to children’s learning in five schools. Audio recordings of adult-child discourse were collated for eight categories of talk partner in both formal and informal interactional contexts. Such recordings, however, exclude the non-verbal communicative devices, crucial components of the interpersonal process. Hughes (ibid.) categorized interpreting, recollecting, and speculating as examples of effective learning discourse. Discourse analysis revealed that the pupils adopted a different interactional role depending upon their talk partner. Adults with the intention to teach employed a form of discourse, which largely eliminated pupil initiation and limited their response slots. With the exception of community workers and nursery nurses, all the adults used the classic teacher-pupil exchange of IRF. Nursery nurses and community workers employed a more supportive (Wells, 1987) style of interaction within both formal and informal interactional contexts. Such an approach enabled the children to initiate dialogic moves rather than assume the passive role of respondent. This access to more communicative roles ensured the pupils operated at a higher cognitive level. Despite the large body of research examining teaching and learning within adult-child interactions, there exists few investigations on the effect of intersubjectivity on effective instruction pertaining to non-teacher adults. The present study’s principal intention was to answer the following research questions: 1) Does greater intersubjectivity enable adults to teach in a more contingent way within schools? 2) Does enhanced intersubjectivity lead to a greater frequency of effective teaching-learning discourse? Many researchers (e.g. Wood, 1986; Azmitia, 1997; Mercer, 2004) advocate the importance of shared understanding for successful interactional communication. Thus, intersubjectivity was selected as the independent variable in order to investigate its effect on the dependent variable of effective instruction. From the research reviewed above, it was predicted that the outcome of the study would support the hypotheses that the intersubjective dyad would 1) achieve greater contingency and 2) would employ more discourse of effective teaching and learning than the non-relationship dyad. Rather than employ audio recordings (Hughes, 1994), the interactions of the present study were video recorded in order to capture non-verbal communications. The use of construction toys is a common method in problem-solving research (e.g. Wood and Middleton, 1975; Hoogsteder et al., 1996). However, to avoid novelty, a familiar type of construction toy was used. The present study’s coding scheme was designed to measure effective teaching and learning discourse identified by Wood (1986), Hughes and Westgate (1997) and Mercer (2004). Wood’s (1986) levels of control inform the current study’s modified levels of contingent teaching. The present study adopted a socio-cultural approach to cognitive development in which effective teaching is directed at the child’s ZPD, and the origins of problem-solving abilities are found within children’s social experiences with more capable individuals (Vygotsky, 1978).

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Method Design A between-participants observational research design was employed in order to compare the communicative actions of the participants interacting within a problem-solving task. Data were collected using video recordings of the children constructing a Lego model. The participants’ discourse was coded and analysed for effective teaching-learning discourse and contingent teaching. To explore the effect of intersubjectivity on effective instruction, a comparison was made between a dyad that had a shared history of academic interactions (the intersubjective dyad) and a dyad where intersubjectivity was nonexistent (the non-relationship dyad). Confounding factors were considered and the child participants were matched for gender, ability (established by teacher assessment) and age. The task was identical for both participants. It was hypothesized that the intersubjective dyad would engage in more discourse of effective teaching and learning and attain greater contingency than the non-relationship dyad. Participants Participants included two (Anglo) male children, aged 6 and 6.5, selected from a state primary school with a mixed catchment in the Washington area. A teaching assistant with one year’s experience conducted the problem-solving task. The two children were asked if they would be willing to participate in a video-recorded problem-solving situation. They agreed, and informed consent was obtained from their caregivers. The participants were carefully selected to ensure that intersubjectivity existed within only one dyad. This was achieved through discussion with the children’s teacher and a teaching assistant who supports specific pupils (including one of the participants) in a Year 1 class. Materials A commercially produced Bionicle 8932 Lego construction kit was employed in order to decrease the novelty of the problem-solving task and to create a less contrived situation. Moreover, it was deemed that such a toy would appeal to young boys. To ensure joint activity and scaffolding would take place the model was selected so that the children would be unable to construct it on their own. However, the task could be completed within the child’s zone of proximal development. The Lego pack was supplied with a pictorial instruction booklet. The kit consisted of forty-five pieces and was recommended for children between the ages of seven and sixteen. The exchanges were recorded via a Canon MV750i digital camcorder with the video data uploaded onto an Acer TravelMate 2491LCi laptop computer. The video recordings were transcribed and coded for effective teaching-learning discourse and contingent teaching. Procedure The recordings took place in June 2007 during the school day in a room familiar to the children. The researcher, the teaching assistant, and the child were present. The pupils received an explanation ─ in language appropriate to their level of understanding ─ concerning all aspects of the research that may have affected their willingness to participate. The children were notified that they could end their participation at any time. The task for both pupils was identical. Both dyads were presented with a Lego

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construction kit which neither child had used before. Each child was directed to attempt to construct the toy while the teaching assistant was asked to help when and how she thought necessary. The child and adult were seated side by side at an oval table. The precise lengths of the tasks for the intersubjective and non-relationship dyad were 21.14 and 21.24 respectively. Following the task, the child was given the toy. Any indication that the children were uncomfortable with the procedure would have been regarded as withdrawal of consent. Personal information was protected in line with the British Psychological Society’s protocols (2000). Development of the Coding Scheme The present study’s coding scheme (Table 1) to analyse teaching and learning discourse was informed by Hughes and Westgate’s (1997) coding scheme of classroom talk. Definitions of effective teaching and learning discourse were derived from Mercer’s (2004) research of talk between teachers and learners ─ what he terms the guided construction of knowledge ─ and Wood’s (1986) review of teacher-learner exchanges. Preliminary observation periods were undertaken to pilot the coding scheme. Dyadic teaching and learning exchanges were video recorded and transcribed. Several new categories were identified from this qualitative data, namely, history, non-academic interests and prompt. From the researcher’s professional experience of dyadic teaching and learning, the category intersubjective humour was initially included. However, no such discourse took place. Consequently, the category was not included in the analysis. Modifications were made to several definitions of effective teaching-learning discourse. Initially, reasoning frequently corresponded with speculation and thus proved difficult to code. This category was operationally defined by clear example: ‘If I put this piece here, it will stand up.’ Speculation was differentiated from statement, which demonstrated pronouncement of an action or pre-task knowledge. Speculation was confined to utterances containing phrases such as ‘I wonder if’ and ‘this might work if I’. All subsequent categories were mutually exclusive. Table 1: Coding scheme for teaching-learning discourse Discourse Description/Example ________________________________________________________________________ SP CQ CQ2 ACK ST SHP CON INS INF PR NV AS Signpost (‘right then’, ‘now’, ‘so’) Closed question (teacher knows the only correct answer) Closed question (only a narrow range of correct answers) Acknowledging what the child says/does (says ‘yes’) Statement demonstrating knowledge (‘I know what to do’) Short pause following question Confirmation (‘that’s right’) Instruction (‘take this’, ‘sit there’) Statement that provides information Prompt (‘have a try’, ‘come on’) Non-verbal reply (nods, smiles) Assessment of learning (‘no’, ‘well done’)

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ASI Aside (participant talking to self) ________________________________________________________________________ Effective discourse Description/Example ________________________________________________________________________ OPQ EXP SPEC HIST Open question (‘what do you think may happen?’) Extended pause following question (two to three seconds) Speculation (‘this might work’, ‘I wonder if’) Reference to dyad’s history (‘remember when you/we did this least term?’ OWN Teacher/pupil answers own question NON Reference to child’s non-academic interests (‘imagine if this were a superhero’) OP Opinion (‘I think that I should do this’) RE Reasoning about the task (‘if I put this piece here, it will stand up’) CONT Child contributes idea EL Elaboration (child elaborates on answer, idea, etc.) CL Asking for clarification (‘what do you mean?’) REP Repeating or paraphrasing the child’s/teacher’s remark ________________________________________________________________________ The scheme to identify contingent teaching (Table 2) was modified from Wood and Middleton’s (1975) levels of control. Following several analyses of teaching and learning exchanges, a further two levels were created for the present study’s levels of control: level 1: no intervention and level 3: implication. These additions ensured that the levels of control could accommodate any instruction given within the problem-solving interaction. Table 2: Levels of control Level Description/Example ________________________________________________________________________ 1 No intervention 2 Verbal starts ‘Take this one’ 3 Implication ‘That doesn’t go there’ 4 Specific instructions ‘You need this one’ 5 Indicates materials or placement ‘Put this piece there’ 6 Indicates materials and placement ‘Get this piece and put it there’ 7 Demonstrates Assembles pieces ________________________________________________________________________ Results Qualitative data were captured via video recordings and transformed into quantitative data. The participants’ interactions were coded for teaching-learning discourse (including

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effective teaching-learning discourse) and levels of contingent teaching were analysed. Seventeen point eight per cent of the coded interaction within the non-relationship dyad was effective teaching-learning discourse. This increased to 28.5% for the intersubjective exchange. Within the intersubjective dyad, the adult employed a significantly greater number of effective teaching discourses than within the non-relationship dyad (Figure 1). The frequency of effective teaching discourse within the non-relationship pair was 7.0%; the intersubjective interaction attained 20.7%. This supports the hypothesis that the intersubjective dyad would engage in more discourse of effective teaching. The highest frequency of effective instruction for both dyads was extended pause, comprising 2.9% of the non-relationship dyad’s exchange and 6.2% of the intersubjective exchange. While the adult’s use of speculation and repetition in the intersubjective dyad comprised 1.8% and 3.1% respectively, neither category was present within the non-relationship dyad. The adult employed no references to the dyad’s history within either interaction.
Figure 1: Frequency of effective teaching discourse within both dyads
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Adult (non-relationship dyad) Adult (intersubjective dyad)

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0 OPQ EXP SPEC HIST Code NON OP REP

The greatest frequency of effective learning discourse for the intersubjective dyad was reasoning, elaboration, and clarification, each making up 10.4% of the interaction (Figure 2). The most frequent utterance for the non-relationship dyad was clarification at 11.9% followed by elaboration and repetition at 9.5%. Although speculation was significantly greater within the intersubjective exchange ─ at 8.3% against 4.7% ─ the results for the child participants were not judged to be statistically significant. The frequency of effective learning discourse for the non-relationship (61.9%) and intersubjective (54.1%) dyad indicates that the presence of intersubjectivity did not influence the pupil’s use of discourse. Thus, the findings do not support the hypothesis that the intersubjective dyad would engage in a greater frequency of effective learning discourse.

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Figure 2: Frequency of effective learning discourse within both dyads
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0 SPEC HIST OWN OP RE Code CONT EL CL REP

Both dyads were analysed for contingent teaching. There was a significant difference between the two. When teaching within the intersubjective dyad, the adult taught contingently for 78.7% of the interaction. This compares to 58.1% of the non-relationship pair (Table 3). Such a finding supports the current study’s hypothesis that the intersubjective dyad would achieve more instruction that was contingent. Table 3: The percentage of contingent teaching within both dyads Contingent teaching Non-contingent teaching ________________________________________________________________________ Non-relationship dyad 58.1 41.9

Intersubjective dyad 78.7 21.3 ________________________________________________________________________ The reliability of the coding scheme was assessed. Effective teaching-learning discourse was selected for inter-rater coding by two researchers. Cohen’s kappa statistic was employed to correct for agreement by chance. The results demonstrated statistically significant agreement for both the non-relationship (κ = 0.80) and intersubjective (κ = 0.91) dyad. While the results established the predicted influence of intersubjectivity, they did not accord exactly with the present study’s hypotheses.

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Discussion The present study examined the effect of intersubjectivity on contingent instruction and effective teaching and learning discourse within a dyadic problem-solving exchange. While the findings support the notion that greater intersubjectivity enables non-teacher adults in schools to teach in a more contingent way, the results do not completely support the hypothesis that an intersubjective dyad engages in a greater frequency of effective teaching-learning discourse. In the current study, the presence of intersubjectivity led to a high frequency of contingent exchanges. That the non-teacher adult gained a contingency rate of seventyeight per cent is significant since Wood et al.’s (1978) trained experimenter was able to follow the contingency rules for only eighty-five per cent of the interaction. These findings challenge Wood’s (1986) claim that achieving contingent interaction with individual pupils is difficult within the school context. The participants’ shared knowledge and pattern of interactions enabled the adult to react appropriately to the child’s behaviours and thus achieve contingent interaction. However, the high frequency of contingent responses within the intersubjective dyad backs up Wood’s (ibid.) findings that a child’s needs are most likely to be interpretable to those adults who know the child well. Episodes of contingent teaching within the non-relationship dyad occurred less frequently. This indicates that, since the participants had yet to develop intersubjectivity, contingent interaction was essentially unsuccessful. Hoogsteder et al. (1996) claim that Wood’s (1986) notion of contingency emphasizes the adult as regulator of the interaction. In the current study, the adult controlled and dominated the child more within the nonrelationship dyad, and the adult’s low frequency of contingent responses could be attributed to the pupil’s personality or motivational engagement with the task. Nevertheless, taken together, the findings concerning contingent interaction appear to support Wood’s (ibid.) claim that shared understanding ─ significant in fostering cognitive development according to Rogoff et al. (1993), Mercer (2004) and Schaffer (2005) ─ is the foundation of contingent instruction. The above findings suggest that non-teacher adults within the context of the primary school classroom can reproduce Wood’s (1986) parent-child relationship. Nonetheless, the adult and pupil must possess intersubjectivity for contingent instruction to take place. The adult’s greater frequency of effective teaching discourse within the intersubjective dyad supports Mercer’s (2004) assertion that effective teaching-learning discourse is more likely to occur when the participants attain shared understanding. The absence of intersubjectivity within the non-relationship dyad accounts for the reduction in effective teaching discourse. Indeed, when teaching within the non-relationship dyad, the adult employed more closed questions and failed to offer the pupil the opportunity to answer before continuing her discourse. Such discourse was found by Hughes (1994) to limit children’s range of responses. Hughes (ibid.) found that adults’ use of effective teaching discourse enabled children to recollect, speculate, interpret, and make connections between events and experiences. In the present study, the adult employed discourses of

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repetition, speculation, and references to non-academic interests to present opportunities for a wide range of potential responses. Mercer (2004) maintains that longer pauses following questions could encourage a higher rate of response from pupils. The adult’s greater use of extended pauses within the intersubjective exchange offered the child the opportunity to access a more communicative role (Hughes, 1994). However, the findings indicate that the child did not respond to those opportunities. Wood (1986) avers that the context of school can compel children to exhibit varying levels of linguistic competence, and this could account for the pupil’s failure to participate more fully in the exchange. Both pupils of the current study regularly referred to the instruction booklet throughout the interactions. This indicates the children’s awareness and emerging application of cultural tools (1978). It was expected that the child within the intersubjective dyad would engage in more effective learning discourse. However, although the presence of intersubjectivity affected the adult’s use of effective teaching discourse, the findings suggest that shared understanding failed to influence the pupil’s use of effective learning discourse. Hughes (1994) found that, when interacting with particular adults, children widened and varied the functions of their discourse. In the present study, however, both children adopted almost identical interactional roles despite the quality of their relationship with the adult. The pupils’ use of effective learning discourse did not differ significantly, with the exception of speculation, which was more frequent within the intersubjective interaction. Hughes (ibid.) found that only nursery nurses encouraged speculation in informal contexts. In the current study, the intersubjective dyad’s shared interaction history encouraged the pupil to expand his interactional role leading to frequent episodes of speculation. Nevertheless, there was no significant difference between the pupils’ overall use of effective learning discourse. Hughes and Westgate (1997) propose that adults’ perception of their status may affect their degree of approachability. The failure of the pupil within the intersubjective dyad to engage in greater effective learning discourse implies that the mutual adjustments in communication that provide the basis of bridging (Rogoff et al., 1993) did not occur successfully. The responsibility for these mutual adjustments is influenced by the participants’ status (ibid.). The findings suggest that the asymmetrical nature of the relationship made it difficult for the pupil to react to and instigate the physical and emotional cues required for successful bridging. A disruption of shared understanding (Mercer, 2004), then, would account for the child’s failure to employ a high frequency of effective learning discourse. However, while the interactions of the current study were not coded specifically for transactive dialogue, the frequency of reasoning and elaboration indicates that the pupil within the intersubjective dyad employed more transactive discourse. Miell and MacDonald (2000) found that a greater incidence of transactive dialogue indicated the attainment of shared understanding. A more credible explanation for the pupil’s low frequency of effective learning discourse would be a methodological one. Aptitude was a confounding variable that was not considered in the present study. Although the pupil within the intersubjective dyad required instruction, his ability to construct Lego reduced the need to engage in effective learning discourse. This suggests

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that the child’s ZPD was not identified correctly; the functions for model construction were in the process of maturing and had all but gained the actual developmental level. This would likely prevent the process of intermental to intramental functioning (Vygotsky, 1978) taking place within the collaborative problem-solving context. Improvements to the current study are necessary. Task aptitude and the verbal dexterity of pupils should have been considered as confounding variables. This would assist in determining the influence of intersubjectivity on effective learning discourse. Although an observational study provides a method of producing quantitative data on features of communicative behaviour, observer influence can reduce the accuracy of observations. Indeed, the contrived situation of the problem-solving interaction may have constrained the children’s communicative techniques. Familiarization periods ─ to ensure the participants habituated to both the video camera and researcher ─ would have increased the possibility of more genuine interactive behaviours and established ecological validity more firmly. Several limitations to the present study should be noted. The research was completed with two male participants. To examine accurately intersubjectivity’s effect upon effective instruction, research must be based upon patterns found among a larger sample of children of both genders, different age ranges and across contexts and cultures. The coding scheme for effective teaching-learning discourse was based upon several researchers’ findings. Thus, the validity of the coding scheme has not been indubitably established. Research on the effective use of questions, for example, has produced ambiguous results (Blank et al., 1978). Although the categories were operationalized, question and instruction frequently proved difficult to code; they appeared to capture the same behaviour. Particular questions (e.g. ‘Can you empty them all out?’) were considered instructional and were coded as such. The present study was a preliminary investigation, which attempted to extend current understanding of the role of non-teachers in supporting pupils’ cognitive development by examining the effect of intersubjectivity on teaching and learning. The findings have implications for educators. A government consultation paper indicated that in 2002 there were over 100,000 non-teacher adults working in schools in the UK (Howes et al., 2003). An understanding of how non-teacher adults can influence pupils' learning in the classroom could assist educators in the organization of staff and pupils. Future research should attempt to replicate and extend the results in naturalistic contexts, and address the extent to which greater intersubjectivity affects cognitive development. Studies could compare pre-test and post-test results of children within non-relationship and intersubjective dyads. In the present study, children’s problem-solving ability was investigated. Further research could examine other areas of the school curriculum, for example, science tasks, which involve reasoning in a number of cognitive areas. Any future research must take account of the cumulative, spatial, and temporal nature of educational discourse.

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Conclusion The intersubjective dyad engaged in more contingent teaching than the non-relationship pair. Although the adult employed greater effective teaching discourse within the intersubjective dyad, the pupils’ frequency of effective learning discourse did not differ significantly. The findings suggest that intersubjectivity is a fundamental component in the establishment of contingent instruction. Non-teacher adults and pupils can attain intersubjectivity; thus, contingent tutoring is achievable within the context of school. The presence of shared understanding compels adults to employ a high frequency of effective teaching discourse. A number of factors, including the asymmetrical relationship, the interactional context, and children’s communicative capability, influence children’s use of effective learning discourse. References Azmitia, M. (1997) ‘Peer Interactive Minds: Developmental, Theoretical and Methodological Issues’ in Faulkner, D., Littleton, K. and Woodhead, M. (eds) (2004) Learning Relationships in the Classroom, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Azmitia, M. and Montgomery, R. (1993) cited in Azmitia, M. (1997) pp.225-226. Berndt, T. J., Perry, T. B. and Miller, K. E. (1988) cited in Azmitia, M (1997) p.223. Blank, M., Rose, S. A. and Berlin, L. J. (1978) cited in Wood, D. J. (1986) p.173. British Psychological Society (2000) ‘Code of Conduct, Ethical Principles and Guidelines’, Leicester. Faulkner, D., Littleton, K. and Woodhead, M. (eds) (2004) Learning Relationships in the Classroom, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Göncü, A. (1993) ‘Development of Intersubjectivity in Social Pretend Play’ in Woodhead, M., Faulkner, D. and Littleton, K. (eds) (1998) Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Hoogsteder, M., Maier, R. and Elbers, E. (1996) ‘Adult-Child Interaction, Joint Problem Solving and the Structure of Cooperation’ in Woodhead, M., Faulkner, D. and Littleton, K. (eds) (1998) Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Howes, A., Farrell, P., Kaplan, I. and Moss, S. (2003) ‘The Impact of Paid Adult Support on the Participation and Learning of Pupils in Mainstream Schools’, Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPICentre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education. Hughes, M. (1994) cited in Hughes, M. and Westgate, D. (1997) pp.214-221.

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Hughes, M. and Westgate, D. (1997) ‘Teachers and Other Adults as Talk Partners for Pupils in Nursery and Reception Classes’ in Woodhead, M., Faulkner, D. and Littleton, K. (eds) (1998) Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Mercer, N. (2004) The Guided Construction of Knowledge: Talk Amongst Teachers and Learners, Clevedon, Multilingual Matters Ltd. Miell, D. and MacDonald, R. (2000) ‘Children’s Creative Collaborations: The Importance of Friendship when Working Together on a Musical Composition’, Social Development, 9 (3) pp.348-369. Blackwell/The Open University. Moll, L. C. and Whitmore, K. F. (1993) ‘Vygotsky in Classroom Practice: Moving from Individual Transmission to Social Transaction’ in Faulkner, D., Littleton, K. and Woodhead, M. (eds) (2004) Learning Relationships in the Classroom, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. O’Connor, E. and McCartney, K. (2007) ‘Examining Teacher-Child Relationships and Achievement as Part of an Ecological Model of Development’, American Educational Research Journal, 44 (2) pp.340-369. Rogoff, B., Mosier, C., Mistry, J. and Göncü, A. (1993) ‘Toddlers’ Guided Participation with their Caregivers in Cultural Activity’ in Woodhead, M., Faulkner, D. and Littleton, K. (eds) (1998) Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Rommetveit, R. (1974) cited in Stone, C. A. (1993) p.161. Schaffer, H. R. (2005) Social Development, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing. Stone, C. A. (1993) ‘What is Missing in the Metaphor of Scaffolding?’ in Faulkner, D., Littleton, K. and Woodhead, M. (eds) (2004) Learning Relationships in the Classroom , Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Tharp, R. and Gallimore, R. (1991) ‘A Theory of Teaching as Assisted Performance’ in Faulkner, D., Littleton, K. and Woodhead, M. (eds) (2004) Learning Relationships in the Classroom, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) ‘Vygotsky’s Theory: Zone of Proximal Development ─ A New Approach’ in Offprints. Vygotsky, L. S. (1987) cited in Moll, L. C. and Whitmore, K. F. (1993) p.132. Wells, G. (1987) cited in Hughes, M. and Westgate, D. (1997) p.216.

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Wood, D. J. (1986) ‘Aspects of Teaching and Learning’, in Woodhead, M., Faulkner, D. and Littleton, K. (eds) (1998) Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University. Wood, D. J. and Middleton, D. J. (1975) cited in Wood, D. J. (1986) pp.162-164. Wood, D. J., Wood, H. A. and Middleton, D. J. (1978) cited in Wood, D. J. (1986) p.164. Woodhead, M., Faulkner, D. and Littleton, K. (eds) (1998) Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, Oxford, Routledge/The Open University.

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