Congratulations to Liv Inger!

This month Liv Inger Engevik (Post doctoral researcher in the DSL+-project) got her last article from her PhD research project accepted.

Here you can read the abstracts of her articles:

Research article published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 30,
Part A, 1st Quarter 2015, Pages 140-151 

Re-conceptualizing “Directiveness” in Educational Dialogues:

A Contrastive Study of Interactions in Preschool and Special Education

Liv Inger Engevik, Silje Hølland, and Bente E. Hagtvet
Dept. of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo

This study investigated the role of teacher directiveness in educational dialogues as it relates to several types of dyads and child engagement. The effect of directive teacher behavior, such as the use of instructions and commands, on children’s engagement and learning is a controversial matter in the field of educational research. Two types of dyads were examined: typically developing children and their preschool teachers (PreschDyads) and children with Down syndrome and their special education teachers (SpecEdDyads). Fourteen Norwegian dyads participated in the study and were videotaped while solving a construction task. The results indicated higher levels of teacher directiveness in the SpecEdDyads. Children with Down syndrome showed lower levels of engagement with the task than the typically developing children did. However, closer examination of the results of the SpecEdDyads with the highest scores in teacher directiveness revealed that these children scored above their group average on engagement. The pattern differed in the PreschDyads, in which the least directive teachers interacted with the most engaged children. A qualitative analysis of dialogue excerpts suggested that in educational contexts in which a child struggles with goal-oriented engagement, emotionally supportive teacher directives may generate joint problem solving, thereby enabling children to successfully complete cognitively demanding tasks that they may not be able to complete independently. In the PreschDyads, the children appeared to be more self-motivated and less dependent on directive support. These findings extend our knowledge of the qualities and functions of teacher directiveness in educational dialogues by illuminating how the individually adapted use of directives may enhance child engagement and learning.

Keywords: teacher directiveness, child engagement, Down syndrome, educational dialogues


Research article published in Research in Developmental Disabilities, Volume 44, 2015,
Pages 287–300
Cognitive Stimulation of Pupils With Down Syndrome:
A Study of Inferential Talk During Book-Sharing
Liv Inger Engevik, Kari-Anne B. Næss, and Bente Hagtvet
Dept. of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo

In the education of pupils with Down syndrome, “simplifying” literal talk and concrete stimulation have typically played a dominant role. This explorative study investigated the extent to which teachers stimulated abstract cognitive functions via inferential talk during book-sharing and how pupils with Down syndrome responded. Dyadic interactions (N = 7) were videotaped, transcribed and coded to identify levels of abstraction in teacher utterances and to evaluate the adequacy of pupil responses. One-third of the teachers' utterances contained high levels of abstraction and promoted inferential talk. Six of the seven children predominantly responded in ways which revealed inferential thinking. Dialogue excerpts highlighted individual, contextual and interactional factors contributing to variations in the findings. Contrary to previous claims, the children with Down syndrome in the current sample appear able to draw inferences beyond the “here-and-now” with teacher support. This finding highlights the educational relevance and importance of higher-order cognitive stimulation of pupils with intellectual disabilities, to foster independent metacognitive skills.
Keywords: Down syndrome, intellectual disability, cognitive stimulation, inferential talk, book-sharing

Research article accepted for publication in
Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 2016

Quality of Inclusion and Related Predictors:
Teachers’ Reports of Educational Provisions Offered to Students With Down Syndrome  

Liv Inger Engevik, Kari-Anne B. Næss , and Line Berntsen
Dept. of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo


The aims of this study were to gain insight into the quality of inclusion in mainstream classrooms involving students with Down syndrome and to reveal underlying predictors. Thirty nine eight-year-olds with Down syndrome and their teachers participated. Via a survey, the teachers were asked to rate key indicators of inclusion. Their average rating corresponded to a moderate quality of inclusion, suggesting that the students with Down syndrome participated as active and accepted class members who learned with their peers. At the same time, the academic instruction of the students tended to take place outside the mainstream classroom. Regression analysis showed that teacher collaboration and the children’s expressive language abilities explained a reliable portion of the variation in the quality of inclusion. The implications for understanding and facilitating inclusion in practice are discussed.    

Keywords: Down syndrome, inclusion, teacher collaboration, expressive language


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