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The discourse of the literacy hour

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Maria MrozORCiD, Dr Fay SmithORCiD, Dr Frank Hardman


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The introduction of a national 'literacy hour' as part of the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) has been seen as a major reform to improve standards of literacy in primary schools in England. A major thrust of the reform has been the concept of 'interactive whole class teaching' which has come from the school improvement literature. However, critics argue that the concept of interactive whole class teaching is not well defined and that it mainly results in traditional whole class teaching. As a consequence of policy initiatives like the NLS, teachers are pressurised into using more directive forms of teaching with less emphasis on active learning. In order to investigate these arguments, the discourse styles of 10 teachers were intensively studied as they taught the literacy hour. The findings suggest that the endorsement of interactive whole class teaching appears to have had little effect in providing opportunities for pupils to question or explore ideas to help them regulate their own thinking. The implications of the findings for externally generated curriculum reforms like the NLS are considered together with the in-service needs of teachers who are charged with implementing such policy-led initiatives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mroz M, Smith F, Hardman F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cambridge Journal of Education

Year: 2000

Volume: 30

Issue: 3

Pages: 379-390

ISSN (print): 0305-764X

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3577

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/03057640020004513


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