classroom dialogue

Online Communities

This MESH Guide has been developed initially by colleagues at the University of Cambridge who belong to the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research Group (CEDiR). CEDiR aims to reach across disciplines and contexts to develop the potential of educational dialogue and to have an impact on theory, policy and practice. In particular, the group is keen to establish a global community of practitioners and researchers interested in educational dialogue.

About this guide

Editor's Comments

The advice for teachers in this guide would seem to be applicable to all teachers of all subjects.


Transferability 5*

The editors see no reason that these research findings may not apply widely across countries and contexts.

Strength of evidence

Strength of evidence 5*

The advice in this guide is backed up by decades of research with teachers and learners in an expanding network covering at the time of writing more than 15 countries.

Further research

CEDiR has four inter-connected Research Strands. These build on existing work undertaken by the Faculty of Education to consider important contemporary topics relating to dialogic education. CEDiR welcomes research collaborations and applications for doctoral study related to any of these:

Teacher Scheme for Educational Dialogue Analysis (T-SEDA)

Researchers at the University of Cambridge (UK) have developed and trialed an extensive resource that supports teachers in conducting their own inquiry into Classroom Dialogue. For further information about this trial and the associated resources please see the website:




Alexander R (2017) Towards Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking Classroom Talk. Thirsk: Dialogos.

Berry, R.A.W. (2006). Teacher talk during whole-class lessons: Engagement strategies to support the verbal participation of students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 21, 211–232.

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. & Wiliam, D. (2002) Working Inside the Black Box: assessment for learning in the classroom. London, King's College School of Education.

Language tools

Dawes (2008, p.5-6) has identified some ‘language tools’ that help children to use language to think together.


Dialogic Teaching - Group dialogue

Different types of educationally effective talk in groups have been identified. Dawes, Fisher and Mercer (1992) first distinguished between ‘exploratory’, ‘cumulative’ and ‘disputational’ talk. Exploratory talk, which is similar to the concept of ‘accountable talk’ developed in the United States (Wolf, Crosson & Resnick, 2006), has been judged to be the most educationally effective type of talk in groups (Littleton & Mercer, 2013). Exploratory talk may be defined as talk in which:


Subscribe to RSS - classroom dialogue