Educational Value Of Dialogue Talks

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The importance and educational value of talk propagates the sense of empowerment in an academic setting. Talking allows the pupils to think, share ideas and interact with their peers, resulting in an enhanced educational experience.

When I was working at a primary school, based in Harmondsworth, I used talk to assess children’s prior knowledge, which helped me to develop their understanding of the subject’s knowledge by sharing ideas. My experience of working with children delineates the following points.

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  • Talking allowed pupils to become more adroit and agile in communication skills, to express their thoughts.
  • Children became more engaged in the intellectual activity, with more ease, which enhanced the academic productivity.
  • New thinking and ideas stimulated the learning experience where children felt more empowered, as opposed to merely being the passive recipients of knowledge.
  • Allowing them to ask questions and share ideas enhanced their sense of autonomy, and they performed better in academic activities.

In my view, when a teacher facilitates discussions, it allows the pupils to develop better understanding of the subject. Semiotic tools such as language enables the pupils to add meaning to the experience. A positive and coherent talk focuses on teacher & learner’s interaction. An effective talk gives teachers the ability to access pupil’s thinking, which allows them to recognize the individual’s needs. Learning tasks can then be devised to scrutinize & analyse understanding, to evaluate their progress. In contrast, the traditional older method of teaching, can be less effective, where the teacher remains in firm control of the transition of knowledge to students with fewer interactions. Better language use, concomitants better expression and better thinking.

Wegerif: Dialogic Education consciousness (‘conscientization’) and at the same time a transformation of social reality. Where a particular concept of what counts as social justice is established in advance of dialogue then this Freirean vision may be accused of being instrumental and manipulative rather than genuinely dialogic (Matusov, 2009). However, if the focus is on liberating all students to be able to participate equally fully in dialogues that shape a shared social reality then this is a truly dialogic educational goal albeit one which may often have obvious political implications.

In practice, despite claims to the contrary (e.g Matusov in Matusov & Wegerif, 2014), these three levels of definition are not mutually incompatible. Most approaches to education that describe themselves as dialogic combine some element of all three levels. It is not uncommon for approaches to combine a concern for taking the form of a dialogue in which all participants are given opportunities to participate with ideas, a concern to promote knowledge age skills through shared inquiry and an interest in developing dialogic dispositions and promoting more dialogue as a valued end in itself (ege. Flecha 2000, 16: Phillipson and Wegerif, 2016; Nystrand, 1997 and Lefstein and Snell, 2013).

A brief intellectual history of dialogic education

Dialogic talk gives a platform to student’s abilities to engage at a deep level. In an effective educational talk, questioning should be used to extend thinking rather than assess it. The value to talk is embedded with the idea of active participation and immediate feedback. An effective talk requires a vivid collaboration at a deep level between the teacher and the students. Questioning extends thinking and triggers active participation.

‘’High quality talk between the teacher and the student(s) provides a fertile ground for an active, highly collaborative and cognitively stimulating learning process leading to improved learning outcomes’’ (Cecilia, Speicher, Sascha 2016)

An effective academic exchange should dwell on collective, mutual, contributory, calculated and cumulative characteristics. Children should listen, share and consider the view of others. Build on their own on, or other’s contributions and change them into coherent line of thinking. Group discussions. ‘’Productive collaborative talk requires time for pupils to develop and practise the necessary group skills before they are able to use what Alexander has called, ‘the right kind of talk’ (Alexander 2004)’’. (Braund, and Leigh 2013)

Dialogic talks may not always be an effective method, especially when some students refuse to participate. Children’s contribution in effective dialogue is very important. Teacher’s voice is a guiding force in the effectiveness of dialogic talks, and many teachers lack the skills necessary to plan an effective dialogue. They should be able to establish strategies which enables children to discuss, argue, explain and reason rather than just respond. ‘’Dialogic talk can be developed effectively in schools through structured intervention programmes and can be initiated in classrooms through particular forms of stimulus’’, (Poultney and Rupert 2020).


  1. Braund, M. and Leigh, J. (2013) ‘Frequency and Efficacy of Talk-Related Tasks in Primary Science’, Research in Science Education, 43(2), pp. 451 doi: 10.1007/s11165-011-9270-1
  2. Goria, C., Speicher, O. and Stollhans, S., 2016. Innovative Language Teaching And Learning At University. 1st ed. Dublin:, p.5.
  3. Poultney, V. and Knight, R., 2020. Classroom Talk. 1st ed. [eBook] St Albans: Critical Publishing, p.56. Available at:> [Accessed 18 September 2020].
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