Really saying something? Speaking up for authentic classroom talk

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 65 Number 1 (2023)

Really saying something? Speaking up for authentic classroom talk
Rupert Knight pages 98-107
DOI: 10.3898/forum.2023.65.1.12


Pupils’ talk within classrooms has recently seen a renewed focus of attention, usually under the banner of oracy. Much of the justification at policy level seems to stem from a ‘levelling-up’ agenda, based on oracy’s distinctive contribution to enhancing opportunity through developing pupils’ communicative competence with benefits for employability and attainment. Worthy and well-founded as these aspirations are, this article seeks to reassert, alongside them, the potential of oracy also to promote pupils’ authentic voices and involvement in their own learning. Some criteria for avoiding ‘voiceless’ participation are used as a starting point for examining everyday classroom practice. Using real examples of recent practices, the article then shows how, despite the constraints of the current policy climate, teachers can and do find ways of ensuring authentic verbal participation in their lessons. They achieve this through the classroom conditions they create, the stance they adopt towards pupils’ contributions and the purpose that talk serves. 

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To cite this article
Rupert Knight (2023) Really saying something? Speaking up for authentic classroom talk, FORUM, 65(1), 98-107.

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