Why does my class never proceed as planned? Didactics research to understand classroom interactions in relation to knowledge





Whether course content is delivered as resources to be implemented directly (by publishers, for example) or generally advocated teaching approaches (specifically by the labour market), the teacher has content choices to make when finalizing courses. This selection must consider such factors as the planned learning outcomes, as well as students’ prior knowledge and preconceptions. The teacher is responsible for adapting the knowledge to the teaching context, the needs of the academic program, and the students’ relationships with this knowledge. Approaching the choice of course content and seeking the best way to foster learning of this knowledge places us at the core of what is called the didactic model. One school of scientific didactic research strives to describe, understand and analyse the phenomena of teaching and learning knowledge as they are observed during classroom interactions. This article focuses on the concepts that emerge from this model. Specifically, the authors are interested in the verbal or physical interactions about knowledge that are taking place in class. Researchers in the field call this the joint effort of the teacher and their students. In this article, the authors provide an overview of current practice in the school of scientific didactic research, focusing on relevant concepts to equip college teachers, academic advisers, and researchers to describe and understand classroom interactions and what happens with the knowledge involved. In brief, if your class rarely proceeds as you planned it, the concepts of didactics may help you determine why.


Article available in French only.

The AQPC acknowledges the financial support, in 2014-2015, of the Government of Canada through Canadian Heritage, Canada Periodical Fund, Business Innovation component.

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