Alina M Reznitskaya

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Professor, Educational Foundations

University Hall 2193
973 655-4080
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BA:University of Illinois
MAS:University of Illinois
MEd:University of Illinois
PhD:University of Illinois
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Alina Reznitskaya received her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and did her post-doctoral research at Yale University. She teaches courses in educational psychology, quantitative research, and educational measurement. Alina’s research interests include 1) investigating the role social interaction plays in cognitive development, 2) designing measurement instruments that can effectively measure classroom communication, and 3) examining professional development programs that help teachers improve the quality of classroom discourse.

Selected publications include (please see the related documents below):

Reznitskaya, A. (2012). Dialogic teaching: Rethinking language use during literature discussions. The Reading Teacher, 65 (7).

Reznitskaya, A., Glina, M., Carolan, B., Michaud, O., Rogers, J., & Sequeira, L. (2012). Examining transfer effects from dialogic discussions to new tasks and contexts. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37, 288–306.

Reznitskaya, A., Kuo, L., Clark, A., Miller, B., Jadallah, M., Anderson, R. C., et al. (2009). Collaborative Reasoning: A dialogic approach to group discussions. Cambridge Journal of Education, 3(1), 29-48.

Reznitskaya, A., Anderson, R. C., Dong, T., Li, Y., Kim, I., & S., K. (2008). Learning to think well: Application of Argument Schema Theory. In C. C. Block & S. Parris (Eds.), Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices. (pp. 196—213). Guilford Press: New York.


Research Projects

Dialogic Teaching: Professional Development in Classroom Discussion to Improve Students' Argument Literacy

Alina Reznitskaya is a Co-Principal Investigator on a 3-year grant awarded by the Institute of Educational Sciences, US Department of Education. This is a research and teacher professional development project that is conducted in partnership with Ohio State University. The main goal of this project is to help elementary school teachers improve the ability of their students to comprehend and formulate arguments, or, on other words, to develop students' argument literacy. The project is aligned with the recent Common Core State Standards Initiative (2010), which views argument literacy as a fundamental life skill that is "broadly important for the literate, educated person living in the diverse, information-rich environment of the twenty-first century" (p. 25). To help teachers teach argument literacy to their students we will produce a comprehensive professional development program. We plan to draw on contemporary theory and research that suggest that the development of argument literacy is best supported through dialogic teaching. Dialogic teaching is a pedagogical approach that capitalizes on the power of talk to further students' learning. Over the three years of the project, we will work collaboratively with Grade 5 teachers to develop a series of five professional development modules in dialogic teaching. These modules will be delivered through a combination of teacher workshops and in-class coaching. In Year 1, we will work in a study group with a few teachers to develop the dialogic teaching modules and related assessment tools. In Year 2, we will try out the dialogic teaching modules and assessments with a small number of grade-5 teachers to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the professional development. We will deliver the modules in a 4-day dialogic teaching workshop, conduct in-class coaching, and assess changes in teachers' knowledge, beliefs, and practices. In Year 3, we will conduct a larger pilot study of the dialogic teaching modules and assessments. We will again assess the feasibility of implementing the professional development with grade-5 teachers and we will collect evidence of the promise of the modules for improving students' argument literacy.