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Opening classroom interaction: The importance of feedback

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Heather Smith


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Efforts to encourage 'interactive practice' in the National Literacy (NLS) and Numeracy (NNS) Strategies in the UK, have led to an emphasis on teacher questions. Recent research into classroom interactions, however, indicate that the pattern of interaction remains largely unchanged since the introduction of these strategies in terms of the type and amount of questions teachers are asking, and the opportunities for extended pupil participation. This article uses evidence gathered from a large-scale research project examining classroom interactions during literacy and numeracy lessons, and the researchers' critical reflections upon this process, to examine conceptions of interactive pedagogy. It is argued that in order to 'open' classroom interaction, emphasis should be less on the questions teachers ask, and more on the manner with which teachers react to pupils' responses to questions. Episodes of classroom interaction from video recorded literacy and numeracy lessons taken as part of the study are used to support this argument. They present evidence of teacher behaviours in reaction to pupils' responses which succeed in facilitating a more interactive learning environment. The implication that such behaviour will contribute towards a model of effective interactive practice is also discussed. © 2006 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith H, Higgins S

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cambridge Journal of Education

Year: 2006

Volume: 36

Issue: 4

Pages: 485-502

ISSN (print): 0305-764X

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3577


DOI: 10.1080/03057640601048357