Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Differences in Interaction within Primary Lessons: Subject Area and Gender Comparisons

Dr Fay Smith, Dr Frank Hardman, Steve Higgins.

The authors have developed a computerised system which records interaction between teachers and pupils in the primary classroom: the Classroom Interaction System (CIS) (Smith and Hardman, 2003). The aim of this paper is to provide further evidence of the different discourse moves used within numeracy and literacy lessons in England (with a matched teacher sample), but also to outline further developments to the CIS which have resulted in a much richer dataset than previously reported. The frequency and duration of certain discourse moves (e.g. Open question, Explanation) were recorded across 116 lessons. The modifications we have made to CIS allow us to investigate questions such as: Are there gender differences in the number of questions answered by pupils? Does the nature of these questions, and the nature of the resultant feedback, differ by pupil gender? Where a spontaneous contribution is made by a pupil, was it procedural or curricular in nature? And what kinds of evaluation are dominant in the primary classroom: praise, criticism, or simple acceptance?

The findings will be discussed with reference to existing research in this area, along with possible implications for classroom pedagogy, and teacher training.


Dr Fay Smith  (United Kingdom)
Lecturer in Education
School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Fay Smith is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Her main research interests are in classroom interaction and observational research methods.

Dr Frank Hardman
School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Dr Hardman is Reader in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at University of Newcastle upon Tyne and has published extensively in the language and communication area. He joined the University in September 1991 having taught English in comprehensive schools for twelve years, including five years as head of English. He holds masters degrees in both English Language and literature and a PhD in the discourse of post-16 English teaching. Currently he directing projects funded by the Nuffield Foundation and Economic and Social Research Council investigating classroom interaction and discourse and has carried out numerous research and evaluation projects for government agencies in the UK and overseas.

Steve Higgins  (United Kingdom)

  • Classroom Interaction
  • Observation
  • Gender differences
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Discourse
  • Primary School

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)