Classroom talk, by which children make sense of what their peers and teachers mean, is the most important educational tool for guiding the development of understanding and for jointly constructing knowledge. So what practical steps can teachers take to develop effective classroom interaction?

Bringing together leading international researchers and drawing on the pioneering work of Douglas Barnes, this book considers ways of improving classroom talk.

Key Features

Examines classroom communication and managing social relations; Addresses talk in science classrooms; Covers using critical conversations in studying literature; Looks at exploratory talk and thinking skills; Discusses talking to learn and learning to talk in the mathematics classroom; Investigates the ‘emerging pedagogy’ of the spoken word

With an accessible blend of theory, research and practice, the book will be a valuable resource for teachers, teacher-trainers, policy makers, researchers, and students.

Talking a Way to Understanding in Science Classrooms

Talking a way to understanding in science classrooms


The chapter begins by showing that the task of a science teacher is often to enable students to move from an everyday view of a physical phenomenon to a scientific one. After defining four classes of teacher-pupil interaction, Phil Scott goes on to illustrate through quotations a series of lessons concerned with the concept of ‘normal force’, in which students through the discussion of perceptual evidence and diagrams come to reject an everyday account in favour of a scientific one. Interpreting this sequence, he shows that the teacher's success depended both on domain-specific scientific knowledge and on their skill in managing different modes of talk appropriately. He also points out ...

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