Interactive whole class teaching in the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies

Fay Smith, Frank Hardman, Kate Wall, Maria Mroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


The study set out to investigate the impact of the official endorsement of 'interactive whole class teaching' on the interaction and discourse styles of primary teachers while teaching the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. In both strategies, interactive whole class teaching is seen as an 'active teaching' model promoting high quality dialogue and discussion between teachers and pupils. Pupils are expected to play an active part in discussion by asking questions, contributing ideas and explaining and demonstrating their thinking to the class. Using computerized systematic classroom observation, discourse analysis of transcripts and a questionnaire, the project looked specifically at the discourse strategies currently used by a national sample of primary teachers when teaching the literacy and numeracy strategies and their perceptions of current practices. The findings suggest that traditional patterns of whole class interaction have not been dramatically transformed by the strategies. The implications of the findings for classroom pedagogy, teachers' professional development and future research priorities are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-411
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • interactive whole class teaching
  • national literacy strategy
  • national numeracy strategy


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