Interactive whole class teaching and pupil learning: Theoretical and practical implications

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    Recently, classroom talk has re-emerged within educational policy as instrumental in delivering standards-based reform in several counties. In England, both the National Numeracy and Literacy Strategies and the National Strategy for Key Stage 3 emphasised the importance of interactive whole class teaching' (IWT) where pupils are expected to play an active part by answering questions, contributing points to discussions, and explaining and demonstrating their methods and solutions to others in the class' (DfEE, 2001: 26). The aim is to increase the quality of teaching and learning in both the primary and secondary classroom by engaging pupils and demanding active participation. This paper explores the pedagogic value of interactive forms of whole class teaching from a sociocultural standpoint and considers whether policy guidelines (such as those referred to above) incorporate an understanding of teacher - pupil talk which is likely to be effective in terms of promoting children's learning. It also considers the potential conflicts and contradictions that the teachers face in implementing guidelines on effective classroom talk in a climate of performance and testing. The paper concludes that interactive whole class teaching can really become an effective mechanism for learning only if certain assumptions regarding its function as a pedagogic tool are challenged within policy guidelines and in day-to-day teaching practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)271-283
    Number of pages12
    JournalLanguage and Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Classroom talk
    • Dialogue
    • Interactive teaching
    • Pedagogy
    • Teacher - Pupil interaction


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