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Dialogue Online: Prospective Teachers' Discourse Strategies in Computer-Mediated Discussions


Reading Research Quarterly Volume 39, Number 2, ISSN 0034-0553


Early views considered computer-mediated discussions (CMDs) to be ideal forums for fostering dialogue because women and other marginalized groups could be equal participants. However, such optimistic views have been tempered by research that found CMD to be dominated by a few individuals, often men, and discourse that is sometimes abusive. The purpose of the present study was to examine the range of discourse strategies and genres of dialogue that male and female prospective teachers used in CMD to align themselves with comembers, to establish their identities as teachers, to socialize other participants into the Discourse of being a teacher, and to exclude members who did not conform to group norms. Unlike many of the studies that examined online discourse in terms of gender, this study found that both men and women used a range and a mix of discourse strategies and genres of dialogue. With a few exceptions, both men and women were inclusive, supportive, personalizing, receptive to others' ideas, and attenuating. They were also willing to be critical and to challenge others' assumptions, images, beliefs, and positions. However, this did not necessarily mean that they changed their views when alternative ideas conflicted with strongly held beliefs. In addition, both men and women were equally likely to mock and exclude those who did not abide by the conventions of the group norms, although such comments were uncommon. Implications for teacher education and future research are discussed.


Wade, S.E. & Fauske, J.R. (2004). Dialogue Online: Prospective Teachers' Discourse Strategies in Computer-Mediated Discussions. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(2), 134-160. Retrieved November 21, 2019 from .

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