Constructing 'ability' through talk
NALDIC Quarterly, 2, (3), .
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Speaking and listening are often presented as individualised skills or competences, a perspective emphasised by current assessment regimes. This paper , in contrast, focuses on speaking and listening as a social and collective practice rather than a neutral skill, looking at learning as socially situated rather than an individualised developmental process. It examines the way in which notions of differential abiity are constructed through talk in a 'mixed ability' classroom, showing how school English is produced differently for different groups of students. The paper concludes by offering a framework for considering classroom teaching approaches which might help to ensure that those pupils least engaged by the curriculum are not corralled into the most impoverished forms of learning.
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