Talk for Learning

Notes from A Dialogic Teaching Companion by Robin Alexander (2020).

Chapter 2 – Talk for Learning

In this chapter, Alexander explores the relationship between talk and the development of a child. He examines the shift in the 1970s between the child as “lone scientist” to “apprentice”. The persistence of recitation and the typical oral classroom interactions are explored. Alexander goes on to explain the research-supported positive benefits of classroom talk. Much of the chapter is given to the way in which talk has been stigmatised by politicians and has been now largely removed from the school curriculum, despite the evidence of its decisive role in teaching and learning. He explains the origins of Oracy as a term and discusses talk as curriculum and talk as pedagogy. He concludes the chapter by insisting on teacher agency and autonomy in order to enable children to think for themselves.