Within the broad field of research on learning, culture and social interaction, sociocultural theory is now commonly used as an explanatory conceptual framework. In this article we begin by setting out the essential elements of this theory as it applies to a specific area of enquiry in which we have been involved, which is aimed at understanding the educational functions of classroom talk. In doing so, we will discuss some key concepts generated by the theory. We then review empirical research on talk and learning which has been inspired and informed by a sociocultural perspective, and go on to consider the educational implications of its findings. Finally, we consider how research on the educational functions of classroom talk might be developed, both theoretically and empirically, by using a sociocultural framework to link it with other lines of enquiry into learning and cognitive development.
Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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