Examining transfer effects from dialogic discussions to new tasks and contexts

Alina Reznitskaya, Monica Glina, Brian Carolan, Olivier Michaud, Jon Rogers, Lavina Sequeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


This study investigated whether students who engage in inquiry dialogue with others improve their performance on various tasks measuring argumentation development. The study used an educational environment called Philosophy for Children (P4C) to examine specific theoretical assumptions regarding the role dialogic interaction plays in the development of individual argumentation. Using quasi-experimental research design, we randomly assigned 12 fifth-grade classrooms to two treatment conditions: P4C and Regular Instruction (REG). To document treatment fidelity, we analyzed 36 systematically selected discussion transcripts focusing on various features of classroom discourse. To evaluate transfer performance, we administered 3 post-intervention measures, including an interview, a persuasive essay, and a recall of argumentative text. Our results confirm that there were important differences in discourse patterns that indicate that P4C students engaged in more dialogic interactions, compared to REG students. However, although P4C students had different classroom experience, they performed similarly to the Regular Instruction students on post-intervention measures. We discuss the lack of positive transfer and suggest directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-306
Number of pages19
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Argumentation
  • Argumentation development
  • Dialogic teaching
  • Dialogue
  • Elementary school
  • Elementary school students
  • Transfer of learning


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