Att lyssna till röster. Ett vidgat lyssnandebegrepp i ett didaktiskt perspektiv.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis has two points of departure and four main purposes. The first point of departure concerns the narrow perspective of the listening skill in Swedish. The first purpose is to show the lack of attention to the listening skill in research and mother tongue education in the Swedish compulsory school. Educational documents from 1842 to 2000 about Swedish as a school subject are examined from a historical perspective. Results from the study show that the listening skill is only slowly approaching the same status as talking, but standards for listening are still missing in the syllabus for Swedish. The second purpose is to determine a meaning for the concept of ’listen’ in the Swedish language. Results from the study outline three distinct meanings in the Swedish language: the perception of hearing, the constructing of meaning with attentive listening, and the metaphorical meaning in phrases such as “listening to voices”. Moreover, the concept of ‘listen’ covers a wide semantic field and the Swedish definition foregrounds three dimensions.

The second point of departure concerns an extended notion of listening in classroom research. The empirical study is based on field observations and transcriptions of videotaped talk in interaction of eight Swedish white middle-class students in teacher education over a six-month period, with a tutor and an observer. The object of inquiry is the documented part of an earlier reception expressed in an open and explicit response: that is, ‘reported listening’. The Bakhtin (1984) concept of ‘voice’ is connected to the metaphorical meaning of the concept ‘listen’. With an extended notion of listening it is possible to describe all the kinds of voices which the participants listen to, respond to and speak with when they are in dialogue with themselves and are creating a voice of their own.

The third purpose is to examine reported listening with regard to what voices and contextual resources the participants refer to: that is, ‘voice response’. The concept of ‘intertextuality’ is adopted as a method to identify this polyphony of voices in the classroom. Results from the study indicate that some of the students have a broad and some a narrow listening repertory. Six listening types emerge in the material and the group seems to be an important contributor to the individual’s dialogic learning. The fourth purpose is to examine reported listening with regard to how the participants use those voices: that is, ‘voice use’. Some rhetorical terms are adopted as a method to identify the student’s purpose in using different voices. Results from the study suggest that the voice use principally has an arguing function and that some of the students use several different functions and some use only a few in their listening profile. Four listening positions emerge in the material, namely the ‘questioner’, the ‘refiller’, the ‘synthesizer’ and the ‘inquirer’. The implications of these findings are discussed. Compared with the American listening tradition “Listening to Voices” represents an alternative theoretical framework with a sociocultural approach.


  • Kent Adelmann
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Ideas


  • Syllabus for Swedish, Pedagogy and didactics, Teacher Education, Educational History, Talk in Interaction, Group Talks, Classroom Research, Listening Practice, Listening Instruction, Listening Research, Listening Theory, Meaning Determination, Semantics, Listening Reception, Rhetoric, Intertextuality, Reported Listening, Response, Context, Dialogue, Long-term Listening, Utterance, Mikhail Bakhtin, Voice, Pedagogik, didaktik, Scandinavian languages and literature, Nordiska språk (språk och litteratur)
Translated title of the contributionListening to Voices. An extended notion of listening in an educational perspective
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 Dec 19
  • School of Education, Malmö University
Print ISBNs91-85042-01-3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-12-19 Time: 10:15 Place: School of Education, Malmö External reviewer(s) Name: Løkensgard Hoel, Torlaug Title: Professor Affiliation: NTNU, Trondheim ---