Toppling Teacher Domination of Primary Classroom Talk through Dialogic Literary Gatherings in England (FORUM 1)



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Format: Article

Publication date: March 1, 2016


Dialogic Literary Gatherings (DLGs), first implemented by Ramon Flecha, have proved to be a ‘successful educational action’ (SEA) for inclusion, social cohesion and raising children’s attainment in several European and Latin American countries. This article reports their implementation in England and their consistent and dramatic reversal of the hard-to-shift teacher-pupil talk ratio. Primary children read an agreed chapter of a suitable edition of a classic text (e.g. The Odyssey) at home, and select an idea from the text to share with the class in the DLG. They say why they have chosen it and other children comment, giving their reasons for agreeing or disagreeing. The teacher chairs the discussion, ensuring that all who wish to speak can do so, and without giving evaluative feedback. Consistent findings are that over 75% of the class join in the dialogue, contributing over 80% of the talk, often in extended utterances which reveal reasoning and speculation. DLGs are associated with gains in motivation and attainment in reading (reported elsewhere). They have the potential to close the class-based attainment gap.

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