Talking to learn: dialogic teaching in conversation with educational linguistics
Research into classroom talk has a rich history in Anglophone countries. In the United Kingdom, notable examples include Britton's (1970) exploration of the relationship between talking and thinking; Barnes and Todd's work on exploratory talk (1977) - work subsequently further developed by Mercer (2000); and the recent emphasis on dialogue in pedagogy (Alexander 2008; Wegerif 2011). In North America, Cazden's (2001) research has shaped understandings regarding the centrality of language in learning and its role in constructing knowledge in classrooms. Wells' (1999) pioneering work in psychology and linguistics in dialogic inquiry has inspired many; and Resnick, Michaels, and O'Connor (2010) have proposed the notion of 'accountable talk' as a means of achieving productive classroom discussion. In Australia, Christie's (2002) work, with its descriptions of curriculum genres, has highlighted the structured nature of classroom interactions, while Hammond and Gibbons (2005) (Hammond 2014) have addressed the role of talk in mediating pedagogical practices that both challenge and support students in their engagement with curriculum concepts. The papers in this Special Issue build on such traditions to focus on the place of talk in learning, and its relationship to literacy education.
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