Research and Practice: working with teachers on classroom talk

by Neil Mercer

I have worked with teachers on research on talk and learning in classrooms since the 1970s and have used a range of methods to do so. In this 50-minute lecture, I focus on two of the projects I have been involved in, discussing not only what they revealed about the nature and educational functions of spoken interaction, but also the practical implications of the results obtained. I have chosen these two particular projects because they were very different in design and scale, with one being a relatively small scale interventional study on groupwork and the second being a very large scale observational study of classroom teaching. I use them to consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing each kind of classroom-based research.

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