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IPP1: Exploring development themes through the use of talk in the classroom (dialogic teaching)
[relevant to English, CSPE, Modern Languages]


Dialogic teaching and the centrality of questions

In the following video clips, Dr. Kevin McDermott, National Co-ordinator for Languages with the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), introduces some of the theory that frames dialogic teaching and the use of generative questions in the classroom.


Video: On the pursuit of questions and use of rich texts in the classroom

"It's because I'm a teacher that I'm prepared to pursue the question - for me, that became the raison d'être of teaching, that you're someone who's prepared to pursue really good questions with your students and facilitate them in the pursuit...The starting point is rich texts, texts that will engage students, texts that will grab their imagination - and once their imagination is taken hold of, it's easy to ask questions and encourage them to pursue those questions."



Video: On dialogic teaching and the use of generative questions

"Robin Alexander has developed what he calls dialogic teaching...he sees the role of the teacher in providing a context in which purposeful talk can be pursued...the role of the teacher is to ask questions that generate interesting answers...the teacher is like the conductor of an orchestra...you begin to change students' ideas together into deepening lines of enquiry...understanding takes place over time, it's informed by the pursuit of further questions..."



Video: On naming the generative question and using supplementary questions

"...if we're studying a film like The White Dress, in the back of the teacher's mind and guiding the pursuit of the questions is a generative question or an over-arching question, and it might be a question like 'What is the nature of this world?' or 'Why is the world as it is?' and that question guides what we're doing. We don't want to ask students that directly; we want to ask a whole series of supplementary questions that will encourage a rich engagement with the text...."