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Towards an evidence-based approach to fostering collaborative conversation in mainstream primary classrooms: Response to commentators

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten, Dockrell, Julie, Matthews, Danielle, Sturrock, Alexandra, Wilson, Charlotte (2023) Towards an evidence-based approach to fostering collaborative conversation in mainstream primary classrooms: Response to commentators. First Language, 43 (6). pp. 660-667. ISSN 0142-7237. E-ISSN 1740-2344. (doi:10.1177/01427237231209805) (KAR id:103184)

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The ability to engage with ease in collaborative conversation is critical for child well-being and development. While key underpinning skills are biologically enabled, children require appropriate scaffolding and practice opportunities to develop proficient social conversational ability. Teaching conversation skills is a statutory requirement of the English primary (and many other) curricula. However, currently most upper primary mainstream teachers are not trained to teach conversation skills and do not teach them in the classroom or provide time for children to practice. We argue for first steps towards an evidence-based approach for a universal / Tier 1 programme, whilst fully acknowledging an ongoing need for Tier 2 and Tier 3 support as well as for further research into the strategies which are most effective in Tier 2/3 contexts. Further research is also needed to explore cultural variation in social conversation and to develop reliable, valid and brief teacher measures of child social conversational ability.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/01427237231209805
Uncontrolled keywords: conversation; children; teachers; pragmatics; intervention; active listening; relevance; collaboration; listener interest
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF41 Psychology and philosophy
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2023 17:20 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2024 15:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten.

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