Teacher talk and pupil talk: a case study of a thinking skills approach to learning in an English primary academy
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AbstractThis thesis is an exploratory case study of how talk is used by teachers and pupils through a thinking skills approach to learning in a primary academy. It investigates the inter-relationship between curriculum and pedagogy using lesson observations, interviews with teachers and pupil focus groups. Findings suggest that an enquiry-oriented approach to curriculum, together with a dialogic stance amongst teachers, can result in an emancipatory consciousness-raising experience for children (Freire, 1974). Using the techniques of Philosophy for Children, pupils develop their understanding by bringing their life experiences to bear on curricular topics studied. Reflecting together in small group and whole class discussions, facilitated by teachers, enables them to give voice to their ideas and build on those of others, corresponding to the development of ‘communicative competence’ (Habermas,1984). Children’s development of criticality is seen to be enhanced in this approach to learning by the gradual introduction of conceptual or abstract vocabulary. However, a corollary is the risk that some may not engage in spoken enquiries or indeed that this curriculum may not provide them with the skills to achieve as well in national tests. An essential requirement of this counter cultural approach to teaching is the adoption of a fallibilist stance by teachers in discussion with children. Classroom relationships, which reduce the social distance and develop a more symmetrical power balance, foster collaboration and a sense of classroom community. The study concludes with implications for teacher education and professional development, namely: curriculum planning which takes account of pupils’ own experiences and capital; opportunities for children to develop their communicative competence which forges links between everyday and school language; and teacher focus on praxis, acting wisely and carefully in a particular situation.
CitationGurton, P. (2022) Teacher talk and pupil talk: a case study of a thinking skills approach to learning in an English primary academy. University of Wolverhampton. http://hdl.handle.net/2436/625068
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Education in Professional Inquiry.
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