Classroom Dialogue and Learning

Dr Victoria Cook, Dr Louis Major, Dr Sara Hennessy with Farah Ahmed, Elisa Calcagni and other colleagues from the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research Group (CEDiR) | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Language as an educational tool

The importance of language to learning is evident even from children’s earliest interactions with their carers. Hart and Risley (1995) argued that the amount and quality of the dialogue that young children experience at home is one of best predictors of their eventual academic attainment. The conversational style of carers has been shown to be critical to children’s long-term retention; children have more organised and detailed memories if their carers frequently use elaboration and evaluation (Reese, Haden & Fivush, 1993). Longitudinal studies have also shown that long-term retention is facilitated by the practice of verbalising events at the time that they occur (Fivush & Schwarzmueller, 1998). However, for some children, the only chance to engage in productive, educationally stimulating dialogue occurs in school.