Promoting group talk and higher-order thinking in pupils by 'coaching' secondary English trainee teachers

Sutherland, Julia (2006) Promoting group talk and higher-order thinking in pupils by 'coaching' secondary English trainee teachers. Literacy, 40 (2). pp. 106-114. ISSN 1741-4350

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One hundred and eighty British secondary school pupils aged 11¿12 and their six trainee teachers in five schools participated in an action research project, designed to improve the quality of children's group talk in English lessons, particularly their engagement in higher-order thinking through `exploratory¿ talk. The programme, supported by the Teacher Training Agency (TTA), now Training and Development Agency, was devised by a team of mentors and an Initial Teacher Educator from Sussex University. It aimed to develop the trainees' skills both in planning challenging tasks for, and sustaining effective group talk, using `ground rules¿ and varied teacher discourse strategies. The data include qualitative comparative analysis of discourse audiotaped before and after the intervention, taken from 66 pupils. Findings indicate a clear improvement in the quality of talk, in terms of pupils' collaborative engagement in higher-order thinking. Further evidence from observations and interviews with all participants suggests confirmation of the programme's effectiveness in improving trainees' and pupils' skills in, and understanding of how to use group talk to reason

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The peer-reviewers for Literacy described this article as 'interesting', 'relevant' and on a 'high-profile' aspect of teaching. The knowledge gained about ways of developing higher-order thought in pupils through group talk is of considerable significance to current national policy since it indicates ways of raising educational attainment in secondary English classes. The research is cited in the rationale for the latest Secondary National Strategy training materials on speaking and listening. It is of interest to audiences internationally: for example, in the USA and Australia, the relationship of speech to higher-cognitive learning is an area of major current interest. The action-research, TDA-supported project described involved collaboration between Sussex, PGCE trainees, mentors, teachers and pupils in 5 secondary schools: its findings have impacted directly on the practice of teachers and are being disseminated nationally for teacher-training purposes by the TDA and DfES, and internationally at conferences by the author: e.g. BERA (2005).
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Julia Sutherland
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:34
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2012 15:52
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