What types of learning talk are engaged in by students in whole-class teaching?

Wednesday 29 May 2019, 1.00PM to 2.00 pm

Speaker(s): Jan Hardman, Centre for Research in Language Learning and Use

International research suggests that high quality classroom talk engages, stimulates and extends thinking and reasoning and advances learning, which in turn contributes to an empowering classroom environment. However, little research has been conducted into the nature of student talk and what makes it academically productive. Drawing on the detailed analysis of 54 transcribed lessons, this paper focuses on the types of talk engaged in by students and the ways in which teachers trained in a dialogic teaching approach allowed students to participate in the whole-class teaching.  The data were collected as part of a large-scale randomised controlled trial conducted in 78 primary schools serving deprived areas of England, with large numbers of students for whom English was an additional language, to study the impact a dialogic teaching approach on student learning in the core subjects.  In order to conduct the transcript analysis, a theoretically-grounded discourse analysis framework, allowing for the identification and in-depth analysis of academically productive student discourse moves in whole-class talk, was developed.

The analysis found that students in the intervention schools were using a wider range of discourse moves that exhibited higher levels of explanation, analysis, argumentation, challenge and justification, compared to students in the control schools. The implications of the findings for advancing our understanding of the nature and character of academically-productive student talk, and for the development of clearer guidelines for teachers, will also be considered.

Location: H/G21, Heslington Hall