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.

From Exploratory Talk to Critical Conversations

From exploratory talk to critical conversations
KathrynM.Pierce and CarolGilles

When things change, sometimes you have to change to make them better.

(Jordan, after reading Dragon's Gate)


Pierce and Gilles found exploratory talk to be a powerful way of enabling younger students to explore works of literature, and decided to extend a similar approach to develop a ‘critical conversation’ in which students engage with social and ethical issues that might affect their future actions. They provide details of how teachers can set up critical conversations in lessons at elementary (primary) and middle schools, and give examples of critical discussions and other outcomes. They suggest that a teacher's central task is to set up ‘a culture of talk’, and end with an analysis of the ...

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