2010 Knowledge Building Summer Institute: New Assessments and Environments for Knowledge Building. August 3-6, 2010 - Toronto, Canada

IRFI as a form of progressive discourse in knowledge building oriented classrooms
Thérèse Laferrière, & Mary Lamon


Knowledge building discourse differs from typical classroom discourse (IRE/F). In this short paper, we synthesize and build on a previous paper (Laferrière & Lamon, 2010) that examined how students and teachers used knowledge building principles and Knowledge Forum for understanding the problems of climate change. At a micro level of analysis, our research focuses on the kinds of questions students asked and their subsequent discourse/explanation. We use schemes developed by Hmelo–Silver and Barrows (2008), Chan (see Lee, Chan & van Aalst, 2006) and Hakkarainen (2003). Results show a level of explanation in student discourse that contrast sharply with the IRE classroom discourse structure (teacher initiated question – student response – teacher evaluation, (Cazden, 1988) and with the IRF structure (initiation – response – feedback; see Sinclair, & Coulthard, 1975; Wells, 1993). The emerging discourse pattern identified in this paper is called IRFI (initiation – response – feedback / further inquiry).

Link to final paper