Mercer - JLS 2008

The Seeds of Time: Why Classroom Dialogue Needs a Temporal Analysis
Journal of the Learning Sciences, Volume 17, Issue 1 January 2008 , pages 33 - 59

Neil Mercer

The process of teaching and learning in school has a natural long-term trajectory and cannot be understood only as a series of discrete educational events. Classroom talk plays an important role in mediating this long-term process, and in this article I argue that more attention should be given to the temporal dimension of classroom dialogue, both empirically and theoretically, if we are to appreciate how children gain an education from their classroom experience. I explore this topic using data from recent applied, interventional research in United Kingdom primary schools and examine how classroom talk is used to represent past shared experience, carry ideas forward from one occasion to another, approach future activities, and achieve learning outcomes. The article ends with a discussion of the theoretical, methodological, and educational implications of making this kind of temporal analysis.

DOI: 10.1080/10508400701793182