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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32763 Children, Talk and Learning

20 creditsClass Size: 20

School of English

Module manager: Dr Julia Snell

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module must have passed an introduction to language study in the School of English or another department (such modules include ‘English Structure and Style’, ‘Analysing English’, ‘English: Context, Culture & Style’, a Level 1 module in Linguistics and Phonetics, or similar modules in other departments in Modern Languages.) If you do not meet this requirement, but do have a Grade A in English Language A-level, and you wish to take this module, you must consult the module tutor, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet the pre-requisite requirements.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

As we progress through the module we will develop a range of analytic tools, concepts and theoretical perspectives for investigating classroom talk and children’s interactions. We will apply these emerging understandings to audio- and/or video- recordings of classroom interaction and children’s talk in order to investigate a range of questions, including:• What kinds of interactions are typically found in classrooms?• What kinds of classroom talk are best for pupils’ learning?• Is it important that all pupils participate in whole-class discussion? • How does identity (teacher’s and pupils’) affect interactions in the classroom? • How do institutional constraints (such as standardized testing) impact on whole-class discussions (e.g. about poetry and story writing)?• How do local practices and interactions at school connect to broader social, political and institutional processes?


The aim of this module is to integrate (a) critical discussions of key readings – generally, studies of talk, teaching and learning in classrooms; and (b) analyses of real examples of talk and interaction at school.

The key module objectives are as follows:
- To develop a critical understanding of the importance of talk for teaching and learning
- To engage with multiple methods and theoretical perspectives for investigating social interaction, teaching and learning
- To evaluate the effects of different patterns of teacher-pupil interaction on pupil learning
- To understand the relationship between social identification and learning
- To understand how social and institutional factors impact on what happens in classrooms
- To extend knowledge of research methods in applied language studies

In order to achieve the above students will be asked to:
- Reflect on their own experiences of classroom interaction and learning
- Conduct informed discussions of key readings (generally studies of talk, teaching and learning in classrooms)
- Conduct analyses of video- and audio-recordings of classroom talk and children’s interactions, drawing upon relevant theory

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have developed:
- An understanding of different ways of representing, viewing and interpreting classroom discourse
- The ability to use discourse analysis to analyse classroom interaction
- A metalanguage for talking about social interaction and learning
- The ability to evaluate the effectiveness of different forms of classroom interaction in supporting children’s learning
- An insight into the relationship between theory and data

Skills Outcomes
By the end of this module, students will have developed:
- The ability to engage critically in debates about classroom practice and learning
- The ability to challenge accepted practices and probe new areas of knowledge
- The ability to write clearly and to engage in discussion in an articulate manner
- Data analysis and transcription skills
- IT skills (incl. setting up discussion forums on the VLE)


This module investigates talk and interaction as sites of teaching and learning through examination of the different ways in which classroom talk and learning have been investigated and theorised in the research literature and through explorations of video and audio recorded excerpts of classroom lessons and children’s interaction.

The module will begin with an introduction to basic concepts and methods in the analysis of spoken discourse. Students will then learn how to apply the tools of spoken discourse analysis to classroom interaction and children’s talk.

The five additional hours will be used to give lectures that identifying major themes emerging form the seminar readings, including the following:

• Teaching and learning through dialogue
• Importing non-school ‘discourse genres’ into the classroom (e.g. popular culture)
• Co-constructing pupil abilities and identities through talk
• Non-standard dialect in classroom talk

The seminars will pick up on selected issues in the field and apply them to the analysis of children’s interaction using data collected during my own and colleagues’ research projects.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor). The 5 additional hours can include lectures and the return of unassessed/assessed essays.
Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars
- Submission of assessed work

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayAn essay on an assigned topic (8-hour take-away examination, during the examinations period).50.00
Written WorkTheoretically informed analysis of a video-recorded extract of classroom interaction (2000 words plus transcript).50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:24:13


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