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Use of questions and feedback to generate discussion

Use of questions and feedback to generate discussion

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Use of questions and feedback to generate discussion

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  1. Use of questions and feedback to generate discussion

  2. The study in context This study looked at how interactive classrooms operate and the strategies teachers employ to support pupils’ shared and individual learning e.g. through the use of reasoning skills, exploration and discussion.

  3. Feedback strategies teachers used to create interactive classrooms • In primary literacy and numeracy lessons teachers • builton pupils’ responses • encouraged children to feedback to each other • used pupils’ input to shape lessons

  4. Techniques for building on pupils’ responses to establish dialogue • Teachers used prompts such as “oh”, “ooh”, “ah”, gave opinions and drew on personal experiences, e.g. • Pupil: Ehm, it’s a guitar with laser strings…it’s for teenagers that actually know how to play the guitar • Teacher: Ah, now I have to say I think that’s going to appeal to people who play guitar. I know my sister plays the guitar, it drives her mad every time the strings break

  5. Encouraging children to feedback to each other • Teachers invited pupils to respond to each others’ answers – for example: - Teacher: Ok ready three, two, one, show me, brilliant, [pupil’s name] read it out for me please. - Pupil: Four…four hundred and twenty thousand. - Teacher: [Pupil] thinks she’s got four hundred and twenty thousand, anybody want to disagree?

  6. Drawing on pupils’ input to shape lessons • Teachers actively engaged pupils in developing the lesson – for example - Pupil: You could rotate it [a shape] and then that would fit. - Teacher: Ooh rotate it then - Pupil: Ok, ehm right [laughs]... pause as pupil tries to draw rotated shape - Teacher: It is a bit tricky isn’t it? Can you on the whiteboards in front of you try and rotate the shape? [teacher opens the task to the whole class]

  7. How did teachers use open questions to stimulate discussion? • Teachers used open questions which invited multiple answers and encouraged children to discuss and negotiate a final answer – for example • Teacher: Ok what things are important in instructions? If we were going to write a checklist for when I do this with my class next year, what things would you say to them? What would have to be in your instructions?

  8. How did teachers use closed questions to stimulate interaction? • Effective teachers used closed questions to build on pupils’ thinking and draw in others’ responses, e.g. the teacher is explaining that multiplying by 100 is the same as multiplying by 10 and then 10 again, a pupil asked the following commented: - Pupil: You know when you times it by 20, you do two 10s. • Teacher: No, think carefully it’s not two 10s is it, its 1 times 10 and then you? - Pupil: Double it. • Teacher: Do you see where you went wrong there?

  9. Who were the children in the study? • The researchers observed and analysed teacher- pupil interaction in 213 primary literacy and numeracy lessons (114 Year 5 literacy and numeracy lessons in 2003, and 99 Year 5 and 6 lessons in 2004)

  10. How was the information gathered? • The researchers observed and analysed classroom interactions over a two year period • They used hand held computers and video to record lessons • They selected five literacy and five numeracy lessons that showed the most interaction to investigate teacher behaviours in more detail

  11. How can teachers use this evidence? • The study found that teachers played a key part in creating and maintaining effective discussion. You could reflect on how you use dialogue in your lessons. Can you think of a lesson where your pupils had a good discussion and learning took place? • Whatrole did you play in helping those discussions? • Are there any particular effective strategies you used that you would use again?

  12. How can school leaders use this evidence? • The study found that some teachers were effective in stimulating discussion in their classrooms and others less so. How effective are staff in your school in exploiting the potential of interactive teaching and learning? • Do you have staff members who are effective promoters of classroom dialogue? • Could you engage them in coaching other staff who are trying to develop in this area?

  13. Follow-up reading • Study reference: Smith, H. & Higgins, S. Opening classroom interaction: the importance of feedback (2006) Cambridge Journal of Education Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 485-502 • The GTCs Research of the Month (RoM) website presents a number of research summaries that cover relevant fields of interest such as dialogue and AfL. The RoMs can be found at:

  14. Feedback • Did you find this useful? • What did you like? • What didn’t you like? Any feedback on this Research Bite would be much appreciated. Please email your feedback to: