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Cynthia Ballenger

—(1997) Language and Education, 11(1), 1-14.


This article explores a discussion in a class of Haitian students where a non-teacher directed discussion format and an emphasis on the students own questions encouraged the use of the students everyday ways of talking and exploring ideas. The article addresses the questions: will students unfamiliar with the discourse and practices of science more successfully engage in them, if they are able to bring more of their language and their everyday ways of making sense to the task? Or will the students in this case simply remain where they are, comfortable in a non-academic discourse, and unlikely to explore science as a different way of thinking and acting? Analysis of a discussion shows what and how the students are learning in this context. This is presented as a grounded example of what it might mean, in Bakhtin's terms, to populate with one s own intentions a new discourse.

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