English 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills

By David Wray | Go to book overview

Unit 5

The purposes and processes of talk

INTRODUCTION

Talk is such a universal activity that we rarely consider what it does for us. It is very revealing to try to analyse the purposes of this taken-for-granted activity. Such an analysis can provide us with a ‘map’ of the uses of talk against which we can compare the ways in which talk is typically used in classrooms. In this Unit we shall look firstly at a range of purposes for talk and then go on to examine the potential and predominant patterns of talk in primary classrooms.

WHAT DOES TALK DO FOR US?

The common-sense answer to the question of what talk does for us is that it is mainly a medium for communication with other people. Talk is seen largely as a vehicle for the passing of ideas from one person to another. Of course, this is an important function of talk but if we see it as only, or even mainly, serving this purpose, we risk ignoring several other important functions which it serves. To illustrate this point, let us look at a few examples of talk in action. In each of the following examples, what purpose is the talk serving?

Example 1

Two women walk past each other on a busy street. The following conversation ensues:

Hello. It’s lovely to see you. How are you?

Oh, I’m fine, thanks. How are you?

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English 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Introduction 1
  • Unit 1 - What Counts as English Language Teaching in the Primary School? 3
  • Unit 2 - The Teaching and Learning of Literacy 13
  • Unit 3 - The Reading Process 21
  • Unit 4 - The Writing Process 33
  • Unit 5 - The Purposes and Processes of Talk 43
  • Unit 6 - Looking at Literacy in Classrooms 57
  • Unit 7 - The Texts Children Read 73
  • Unit 8 - The Texts Children Write 81
  • Unit 9 - Language as Text 95
  • Unit 10 - From Learning to Teaching 109
  • References 121
  • Author Index 125
  • Subject Index 127
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