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Eric.ed.gov – Dialogic Teaching: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

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The aim of the intervention was to raise levels of engagement and attainment across English, maths, and science in primary schools by improving the quality of teacher and pupil talk in the classroom. The approach, termed “dialogic teaching”, emphasises dialogue through which pupils learn to reason, discuss, argue, and explain in order to develop their higher order thinking as well as their articulacy. The intervention was developed and delivered by a team from the Cambridge Primary Review Trust (CPRT) and the University of York. Year 5 teachers in 38 schools, and a teacher mentor from each school, received resources and training from the delivery team, and then implemented the intervention over the course of the autumn and spring terms in the 2015/2016 school year. Following the intervention, pupils were tested in English, mathematics, and science. This efficacy trial compared the 38 schools (2,492 pupils) in which the intervention took place with 38 control schools (2,466 pupils). During the intervention, the evaluation team also carried out a survey and interviews with a sample of teachers, mentors, and heads, plus case-study visits to three intervention schools. The following are among the key conclusions from the evaluation: (1) Children in Dialogic Teaching schools made two additional months’ progress in English and science, and one additional month’s progress in maths, compared to children in control schools, on average. The three padlock security rating means we are moderately confident that this difference was due to the intervention and not to other factors; (2) Children eligible for free school meals (FSM) made two additional months’ progress in English, science, and maths compared to FSM children in control schools. The smaller number of FSM pupils in the trial limits the security of this result; (3) The intervention was highly regarded by headteachers, mentors, and teachers who thought that the Dialogic Teaching approach had positive effects on pupil confidence and engagement. (4) The majority of participating teachers felt that it would take longer than two terms to fully embed a Dialogic Teaching approach in their classrooms. It could therefore be valuable to test the impact of the intervention over a longer period; and (5) This intervention requires teachers to change classroom talk across the curriculum, supported by training, handbooks, video, and regular review meetings with mentors. Future research could aim to differentiate the effects of these different elements. The process evaluation showed that the Dialogic Teaching approach was highly valued by participating schools. Teachers reported positive effects on pupil engagement and confidence. However, some schools also found the approach very challenging to implement within the two terms that this project lasted (autumn and spring terms 2015/2016). In fact, teachers felt that the impact evaluation was unlikely to show a positive effect on attainment for this reason. This means it is possible that the effect sizes observed in this evaluation are underestimates of the potential impact.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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