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Teachers co-constructing pedagogical practices to support children's exploratory talk and self-regulation: the Children Articulating Thinking (ChAT) project

Coltman, P., Warwick, J., Wilmott, J., Pino-Pasternak, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-1030-7458 and Whitebread, D. (2013) Teachers co-constructing pedagogical practices to support children's exploratory talk and self-regulation: the Children Articulating Thinking (ChAT) project. In: Whitebread, D., Mercer, N., Howe, C. and Tolmie, A., (eds.) Self-Regulation and Dialogue in Primary Classrooms. British Psychological Society, Leicester, pp. 127-145.

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Background. The quality of primary children's classroom talk, and the development of their self-regulatory abilities, have both been shown to significantly benefit from informed pedagogical approaches. However, two consistent findings of intervention studies in these areas is that interventions conducted by researchers are often more effective than those conducted by the children's teachers, and that teachers often do not incorporate the beneficial innovations in their ongoing practice. This would appear to be the consequence of approaches to classroom research which neither fully engage teachers' commitment, nor sufficiently inform them about the underlying rationale and purposes of the innovations.

Aim. An aim of the Children Articulating Thinking (ChAT) project was to work with teachers as co-researchers, to fully inform them of the research background of the proposed innovation, and to involve them extensively in the design of intervention activities. Through these procedures, it was hoped that they would both carry out the intervention at a high level of competence and incorporate the innovative pedagogies involved into their ongoing practice.

Sample. The project was carried out with Six Year 1 classes (children aged 5–6), who were involved as 'intervention' classrooms with 7–9 target children in each class (n = 51). Three comparison classrooms were also studied with 7–8 children in each class (n = 23).

Method. An extensive number of teacher meetings were held with the intervention teachers, during which they were informed of the research rationale for the study, and involved in devising detailed intervention activities. These activities were designed to introduce the children to the 'Ground Rules for Talk' and to give them practice in using these procedures to help them work co-operatively in groups of three to solve a range of science and arts-based problems. Procedures were also discussed and practiced with the teachers that would support 'metacognitive talk' with their classes in relation to the intervention activities These procedures were designed to support the children in discussing the benefits of using the 'Ground Rules for Talk' for group problem-solving and their own learning.

Results and Conclusions. The teachers were further involved in extensive individual and group reflections concerning the effectiveness of the various intervention activities, the outcomes for the children, and for their own professional development. The evidence emerging from these records and discussions strongly suggests that the teachers were enabled to carry out the intervention in creative and highly effective ways, that they became fully involved in the pedagogical innovations and enthusiastically incorporated these new approaches into their ongoing practice. By involving them in a style of research collaboration which used dialogic approaches, and supported their own self-regulation, their ability to successfully adopt the same approaches with their classes of young children was powerfully enhanced.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: British Psychological Society
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