Developing Classroom Talk through Practitioner Research

March 2007

Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 15, Issue 1  March 2007, pages 41 - 60

This paper reports on a formative evaluation study of 10 practitioner research projects linked together under the title 'Better Communication Skills as a Means of Reducing the Barriers to Learning', which aimed to identify conditions through which practitioner research could help teachers to improve the quality of pupils' classroom talk.

The paper explores the viability of practitioner research as a medium for the development of classroom talk. At its best, the research process is shown to have acted as a catalyst for improved theoretical understanding of the value of talk in learning and to have led to consequent impact on the talk curriculum.


Where the project was less effective, teachers had concentrated on the development of resources rather than systematic data collection; this reflected a problematic tension between the processes of research and curriculum development at the heart of the enterprise as a whole. The paper concludes that practitioner research is most likely to be helpful in developing the talk curriculum where motivated participants have sufficient time for data collection and are convinced of and clear about its value and significance.

Updated: Jan. 07, 2008