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.

Reflections on the Study of Classroom Talk

Reflections on the study of classroom talk


This chapter is concerned with how classroom talk links the cognitive, social and cultural aspects of education. The discussion is based on a study of a particular approach to teaching science and literacy in the USA called ‘Fostering a community of learners’. Examples are taken from recorded classroom discussions in middle schools using this approach and from interviews with two students some years later, as they reflect on their involvement with it and its impact on their lives. Cazden explains how the approach generated a variety of types of classroom activity, giving the teacher and students opportunities to work together intellectually in different ways, and discusses how these contributed usefully to students’ ...

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