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Conversational Learning

Alan Thomas
Oxford Review of Education
Vol. 20, No. 1 (1994), pp. 131-142
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1050899
Page Count: 12
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Conversational Learning
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Abstract

Learning through conversation constitutes a simple form of pedagogy which has received a great deal of rhetorical but little serious attention, certainly with regard to children of school age. This paper first examines research on preschool children conversing with their parents or carers which serves to highlight the vital role of dialogue in early intellectual development; conversational learning also appears to be crucial for the success of programmes designed to accelerate early learning. Conversational learning is necessarily curtailed when children start school. Nevertheless, a number of indicators have recently emerged which suggest that conversational learning loses little, if any, of its potency as children grow older. These include studies in which researchers talk to individual children in the classroom, experimental studies of adult-guided learning and the experience of parents who educate their children at home. Peer-tutoring and cooperative learning are considered.

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