Teacher enquiry as a tool for professional development: investigating pupils' effective talk while learning

Kate Wall, Steve Higgins, Emma Glasner, Ulfëbt Mahmout, Jane Gormally

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The Learning to Learn in Schools Phase 3 Evaluation was a four year project across England exploring the concept of Learning to Learn in 33 primary and secondary schools. The project was funded through the UK based Campaign for Learning. One of the key aims of the project was to ensure that the locus of control in terms of development remains with the schools, who decided on the focus of innovation relevant to them under the umbrella heading of Learning to Learn. A team from the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University then supported and facilitated the teachers in the systematic evaluation of their experiences. As a result we believe that this process supported meaningful professional development about teaching and learning. This paper exemplifies this process through two professional enquiries into pupil talk in the classroom and how it supported learning. The projects were carried out by teachers in two schools, one secondary (11-18 years) and one primary (4-11 years). Both schools decided that encouraging pupil talk about learning best fit with their priorities and the project aims of exploring Learning to Learn. The paper describes the different research methods and findings of the teachers' research, focusing on the decision making which occurred and how the process of the research has impacted on their professional development. Conclusions are drawn about how the philosophy of Learning to Learn can be as easily applied to the process of professional enquiry through action research and teachers' learning, as to the more traditional domain of students' learning and how this might contribute to the development of a successful Learning to Learn school culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-117
Number of pages25
JournalAustralian Educational Researcher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2009


  • learning to learn
  • communication
  • pupil talk
  • education

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