At the time of writing, primary English education is, once again, at a crossroads. Within the context of a continuing focus on underachievement in writing for key groups of learners and a large body of research, which suggests that classroom talk is a powerful means of improving children's success in all areas of the curriculum including writing, this article considers two current approaches to talk in the primary curriculum – Talk for Writing and Towards Dialogic Teaching. In doing so, it critically analyses these texts through the theoretical lens of education as social reproduction with a view to identifying their ideological assumptions about the purpose of talk in the curriculum. Discussion considers how such assumptions may influence classroom practice and contribute to the teachers’ understanding of the role of oracy within the primary classroom. The article concludes that whilst both texts might suggest a socially reproductive approach to education, both have the potential to empower the learner through the skillful implementation of oracy as the foundation of teaching and learning.
- Dialogic talk
- Talk for writing
- Towards dialogic teaching
- Education as social reproduction
- Talk in the primary curriculum
- Classroom disclosure
- Classroom interaction