FORUM
ISSN 0963-8253


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Volume 58 Number 1 2016

Archive

CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

Improving on the Silence: talk in classrooms

Patrick Yarker. Editorial. Improving on the Silence: talk in classrooms, pages 3-6 http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.3 VIEW FULL TEXT OPEN ACCESS

John Gordon. Pupils' Knowledge and Spoken Literary Response beyond Polite Meaningless Words: studying Yeats's 'Easter, 1916', pages 7-14

Linda Hargreaves & Rocío García-Carrión. Toppling Teacher Domination of Primary Classroom Talk through Dialogic Literary Gatherings in England, pages 15-25

Chris Watkins. Moving Beyond 'Shut up and Learn', pages 27-34

Lorraine Kessler-Singh & Leena Helavaara Robertson. Making Waves: towards a pedagogy of discourse, pages 35-45

Kath Aspinwall. MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Testing to Destruction, pages 47-49

Alison Peacock. Children First: an alternative approach to assessment. The 2015 Brian Simon Memorial Lecture, pages 51-59 OPEN ACCESS

Michael Bassey. Linking Primary Education and Sure Start to Avoid Low Achievement Later, pages 61-71

Bernard Barker & Kate Hoskins. Five Propositions that Explain Why Schools Struggle to Improve Social Mobility, pages 73-85

Stuart Norris. Higher Attaining but Emotionally Brittle: why we need to assess how school marketing policies affect students, pages 87-91

Sue Cox. A Second Look at Brian Simon's Bending the Rules, pages 93-108

Patrick Yarker. A Second Look at Douglas Barnes's From Communication to Curriculum, pages 109-115

BOOK REVIEWS

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.119 VIEW FULL TEXT

Improving School Governance: how better governors make better schools (Nigel Gann, reviewed by Colin Richards, pages 119-122

'So the new could be born'. The Passing of a Country Grammar School (Peter Housden), reviewed by Derek Gillard, pages 122-126


 

Pupils' Knowledge and Spoken Literary Response beyond Polite Meaningless Words: studying Yeats's 'Easter, 1916'

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.7

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This article presents research exploring the knowledge pupils bring to texts introduced to them for literary study, how they share knowledge through talk, and how it is elicited by the teacher in the course of an English lesson. It sets classroom discussion in a context where new examination requirements diminish the relevance of social, cultural and historical knowledge in literary response, while curricular detail asserts the capacity of literature to support the cultural, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual development of young people. Transcripts of classroom discussion of 'Easter, 1916 by W.B. Yeats show where and how pupils deploy their own knowledge in interpretive work, and subtle techniques used by the teacher to elicit knowledge sharing. The data suggests the fallacy of decontextualised analysis of literature, and the significance of shared knowledge in communal spoken literary response.

 

Toppling Teacher Domination of Primary Classroom Talk through Dialogic Literary Gatherings in England

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.15

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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.

 

Moving Beyond 'Shut up and Learn'

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.27

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This article analyses the sort of classroom talk that leads to effective learning, and some of the forces which operate against such practices. It starts with an analysis of the classroom context and the dominant patterns of interaction. These cause processes of learning to be hidden. It then develops by an analysis of effective learning, comprising four headings: active, collaborative, learner-driven and learning-focused. Under each heading important forms of classroom talk are analysed, and principles are offered for developing improved practice.

 

Making Waves: towards a pedagogy of discourse

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.35

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This article re-examines the classroom discourse context in early years settings and primary schools. It seeks to understand why such slow progress has been made in developing talk for learning in recent years. The article acknowledges that children are already expert language users by the time they start school and offers practitioners practical ways to enhance children's thinking and learning by developing their capabilities in talk.

 

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Testing to Destruction

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.47

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This is a fictional account of what might happen if pupils feeling burdened by endless testing and examinations, decided to take matters into their own hands.

 

Children First: an alternative approach to assessment (The Brian Simon Memorial Lecture 2015)

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.51

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The author discusses the importance of listening to children and engaging them in dialogue about their learning. She does not accept that assessment should entail labelling children and believes such practices encourage a culture of fixed 'ability' thinking. Through examples of specific children, the author illustrates the importance of openness as a disposition that allows children to surprise us with what they are able to achieve.

 

Linking Primary Education and Sure Start to Avoid Low Achievement Later

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.61

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This article suggests that many of the 16-year-olds who don't achieve a C or better in GCSE English may have had parents who didn't recognise the value of talking to them from the moment they were born. It argues that a bringing together of health visitors, Sure Start centres and primary schools could help lift many children out of the cultural poverty associated with poor language skills. But it won't help if the cultural poverty of a home is due to economic poverty, inevitably causing parent(s) to spend little quality time with their young offspring.

 

Five Propositions that Explain Why Schools Struggle to Improve Social Mobility

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.73

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Government plans to increase social mobility in the United Kingdom place a strong emphasis on improving education to ensure more equal life chances for everyone. As Secretary of State for Education between 2010 and 2014, Michael Gove declared that he was 'determined to do everything I can to help the poorest children in our country' transcend their backgrounds and progress to leading positions in the land. This policy goal is consistent with the widespread perception that a better life depends on working hard at school to gain qualifications and entry to prestigious universities. This article argues, however, that government-mandated improvements in teaching, the curriculum and examinations are unlikely to achieve their desired goal. Five propositions are presented to illustrate the strength of the varied obstacles to social mobility. Deep structures, including poverty and class and gender inequalities, shape the lives of families and individuals in ways that are not easily changed by educational intervention.

 

Higher Attaining but Emotionally Brittle: why we need to assess how school marketing policies affect students

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.87

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The entrenching of competitive values within the public-market field of secondary education has led to the formation of academically focused institutions whose budgets and reputations are based on gaining large numbers of students who have the best chance of attaining highly in public examinations. Although parents have become savvier about their consumer rights, and as regards the use of advertisements that schools produce, the medium and long term impact of the deployment of the majority of marketisation tools on students has yet to be assessed. A consequence of this over-marketing process may be that some students prove to be less successful academically after transfer. If the government continues with a policy based on the market model, the impact of marketing tools that schools implement needs to be assessed so that parents can be secure in the knowledge that first and foremost their child is happy and safe at school.

 

A Second Look at Brian Simon's Bending the Rules

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.93

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In this article the author revisits an important book: Brian Simon's Bending the Rules: the Baker reform of education. Written by a key figure in the history of the journal FORUM as well as in the history of education, Simon's book documented the features of the Education Reform Bill of 1987 (the precursor to the Education Reform Act of 1988). In the book, Simon explored with passion and in depth the far-reaching implications and the threats to democracy that the Bill posed and that reverberate in the present in the education system of England. He demonstrated the huge and united opposition to the Bill at the time. In this article the author attempts to convey a sense of all this. Within the scope of the article, it is not possible, of course, to chart the history of the developments in education since the Bill passed into law and became the 1988 Education Act. The author highlights some of the issues raised by Simon that resonate in the context of the 'Schools Revolution' today.

 

A Second Look at Douglas Barnes's From Communication to Curriculum

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2016.58.1.109

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This article revisits Douglas Barnes's book-length exploration of the implications for teachers of a constructivist epistemology, notably in relation to the importance of small-group talk in classrooms. Empirically based consideration of small-group exploratory pupil–pupil talk enabled Barnes to reveal the learning strategies such a context elicits, and to argue for its educational significance. Barnes also considers how a curriculum can be seen as a form of communication. He identifies the importance of pupil engagement if learning is to be effective, and explores some of the patterns of communication which enhance such engagement. Barnes's attention to pupils' production of knowledge through exploratory talk retains its power to correct the view that teaching is essentially about the delivery of predetermined lesson-content.

 

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