'Interactive Whole Class Teaching' in the National Literacy Strategy

Frank Hardman, Fay Smith, Kate Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Building on evidence from an earlier small-scale study of the discourse of the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) in England, the findings of a more extensive investigation (n=70) into interactive and discourse styles of a nationally representative sample of primary teachers are presented. Using a computerised observation schedule and discourse analysis system, the paper explores the impact of the official endorsement of 'interactive whole class teaching' in the teaching of the NLS to see whether it is promoting higher levels of interaction and cognitive engagement by pupils. The findings support our earlier study and suggest that the NLS is encouraging teachers to use more directive forms of teaching with little opportunities for pupils to explore and elaborate on their ideas. The implications of the findings are considered in the light of their impact on classroom pedagogy and the professional development of teachers who are charged with implementing the national policy-led initiatives like the NLS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2003


  • national literacy strategy
  • national numeracy strategy
  • active teaching
  • computerised systematic classroom observation
  • discourse analysis
  • classroom pedagogy


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