Paraphrases and summaries: A means of clarification or a vehicle for articulating a preferred version of student accounts?
Brown, M. (2003). Paraphrases and summaries: A means of clarification or a vehicle for articulating a preferred version of student accounts? Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 7(2), 25-33.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3362
The use of group discussions as a means to facilitate learning from experiences is well documented in adventure education literature. Priest and Naismith (1993) assert that the use of the circular discussion method, where the leader poses questions to the participants, is the most common form of facilitation in adventure education. This paper draws on transcripts of facilitation sessions to argue that the widely advocated practice of leader summaries or paraphrases of student responses in these sessions functions as a potential mechanism to control and sponsor particular knowledge(s). Using transcripts from recorded facilitation sessions the analysis focuses on how the leader paraphrases the students’ responses and how these paraphrases or ‘formulations’ function to modify or exclude particular aspects of the students’ responses. I assert that paraphrasing is not simply a neutral activity that merely functions to clarify a student response, it is a subtle means by which the leader of the session can, often inadvertently or unknowingly, alter the student’s reply with the consequence of favouring particular knowledge(s). Revealing the subtle work that leader paraphrases perform is of importance for educators who claim to provide genuine opportunities for students to learn from their experience.
This article has been published in the Australian Journal of Outdoor Education. Used with permission.
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