Exploratory talk in peer groups: exploring the zone of proximal development
At Fourth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME 4).
17 - 21 Feb 2005.
This paper reports on a study which examined the occurrence of ‘exploratory talk’, as defined by Barnes (1976) and Mercer (1995), amongst peers in collaborative small groups in secondary school mathematics classrooms (11 to 16 years) in a UK school. This form of talk is thought to contribute to mathematical reasoning. The classroom learning environment in which the study was undertaken is based on sociocultural theories of learning and emancipatory pedagogic practices. The study was undertaken in naturalistic settings during the normal activity of each of the classes. Findings support the neo-Vygotskian view of social dialogic amongst peers as a means of generating talk which culminates in cognitive change.
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