What counts as useful or productive talk in today’s classroom? Who decides, and on what basis? To what extent and in what ways is the spoken language of young people being made use of in school?
It is argued that what Valerie Coultas terms an ‘elocution model’ has gained ground over a model that sees different kinds of talk in the classroom as central to meaning-making and to making those meanings available to other people, so that they may respond. Opportunities for students to talk together in the language they bring to the classroom, and to have that language recognised as the vital starting-point for learning, seem to have been further marginalised.
What, then, is the state of classroom talk? Is the standard Initiation-Feedback-Response/Evaluation pattern still dominant? Are teachers and students talking together more, and in more varied ways? How much time do students spend talking with each other about curriculum-content, making it mean in ways that make sense to them? To what extent can students own (if they don’t already) the language they find they are required or expected to use in the classroom? How much does it matter if, when the teacher listens in, students aren’t talking about what the teacher wants talked about? What are teachers doing to support productive small group talk, and what else might they do? How is such talk made use of to enhance writing? What role does gender continue to play in the dynamics of talk in the classroom? What about other socially-constructed factors? What about patterns of friendship and enmity?
FORUM 58/1, to be published in the Spring of 2016, will hope to carry articles which engage with such questions. Writing which describes and considers exciting, innovatory practice is particularly welcomed, as is writing which illuminates the educational value of talk (sanctioned or otherwise) between students, and/or talk which is student-initiated, as well as that which is teacher-prompted.
There is no set length for a FORUM article, although many are about 3000 words long. It is very helpful if you include a short Abstract with your article. A contact-email address is essential.
If you are interested in writing for FORUM 58/1 and would like to discuss a possible article, please don’t hesitate to contact me on: email@example.com .
The deadline for articles is Friday 2 October 2015. You are welcome to send me your writing sooner.
Thank-you for reading this invitation. I look forward very much to hearing from you.
Editor: FORUM Spring 2016 firstname.lastname@example.org